A look at the state of cannabis in Illinois

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(The Center Square) – As recreational marijuana remains illegal on the federal level, Illinois continues to rake in the tax proceeds from statewide sales.

In fiscal year 2022, cannabis sales in Illinois topped $1.5 billion, generating over $445 million in state tax revenue. As of June this year, Illinois was the third largest cannabis market in the country, trailing only California and Michigan.

Those who partake in recreational marijuana in the Land of Lincoln can attest that it is not cheap. A report by the website Headset found that Illinoisans are paying about 90% more for the average cannabis item than the rest of the country.

“Illinois’ average item price is 46% higher at $33.82 than the second highest Massachusetts and has a 36% higher price per gram ahead of Nevada,” the report found.

During a recent University of Illinois-Extension webinar, David Lakeman, division manager at the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s Division of Cannabis Regulation, said legalized marijuana is putting people to work.

“There are roughly 30,000 total jobs in Illinois currently being generated by this industry,” said Lakeman.

Lakeman said anytime someone would inquire about where a person received training to work in the cannabis industry, almost every time another state like Washington or Colorado would be mentioned, but Illinois’ Community College Cannabis Vocational Training Pilot Program will change the landscape.

“Working to develop the next generation of cannabis leaders across the entire space in terms of the biology, the business, the management,” said Lakeman.

The taxes from recreational cannabis sales in Illinois are split several ways. More than a third goes to the state’s general revenue fund. Ten percent goes to unpaid bills. Eight percent goes to law enforcement and 2% goes to public safety campaigns.

Nearly a quarter of every cannabis tax dollar goes to community groups through the Restore, Reinvest and Renew Program.

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