Business is booming for Illinois’s cannabis industry, with adult-use recreational marijuana sales expected to hit $1 billion by the end of the year. Illinoisans spent around $110 million on recreational marijuana in just March alone. The president and CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce Todd Maisch said, “one factor contributing to Illinois’ explosive growth is that most neighboring states haven’t legalized marijuana yet.” He also believes $1 billion estimates are conservative. Cannabis revenues have surpassed alcohol’s tax revenues in the state to date.
Maisch further elaborated, stating, “Are we going to get to a billion dollars? I think we’re going to blow past the billion dollars based on the experience in smaller states.” However, he also points out some of the roadblocks that could get in the way. He notes that there are only a few things that could stop Illinois growth in the cannabis market, one of which being policymakers hiking up the taxes too high. Maisch believes as taxes go higher and higher, people are pushed to look towards the black market. Another possible thorn in the side of Illinois could be other states opening up recreational use markets.
“If you start to see surrounding states go to recreational, that’s definitely going to flatten the curve because we’re not going to be pulling in demand from other states.,” continued Maisch. Still, it looks like the residents of Illinois are happily packing their bongs and boosting the cannabis market for now. Maisch also makes a great point as he is concerned about how this recent cannabis boom will affect people and their future job opportunities.
“Those individuals who are deciding to go ahead and consume this product are really taking themselves out of a lot of job opportunities that they would otherwise be qualified,” he stated, while really expressing the upsides and downsides of Illinois’ current situation with the cannabis industry as well as the workplace. Illinois may not be the only state to legalize weed, but they are the first in their area to legalize recreational use and they’re taking full advantage of it for as long as they can.