How Much Legal Adult-Use Cannabis Has Sold In Michigan And Illinois?
United States adult-use cannabis legalization started in the West when voters in Colorado and Washington State approved initiatives in 2012.
Legalization then spread to the East Coast when two years later voters in Washington D.C. approved an adult-use initiative. Unfortunately for D.C. residents, the initiative did not legalize adult-use sales and legal adult-use sales are still prohibited in the district.
The newest frontier for legalization in the United States is in the Midwest, where legal adult-use industries have launched in recent months.
Michigan launched legal adult-use sales last month and Illinois did the same at the start of the year.
Decades of Activism Result in Legal Adult-Use Sales in Michigan
Michigan is home to one of the oldest and most well-established cannabis communities in the nation. Activists have fought extremely hard for many years to get legalization passed.
Those efforts culminated in an Election Day victory in Michigan in 2018. Previous attempts to get an initiative on the ballot were thwarted by political special interests in Michigan.
Thankfully, political sabotage proved not to be enough to stop Michigan activists from achieving success, which is a testament to the unwavering dedication of Michigan’s cannabis community.
Legal adult-use sales launched in Michigan in December 2019 in a limited number of markets. First-month sales totals are now available.
According to sales data licensed adult-use retail outlets in Michigan sold roughly $6.5 million worth of cannabis products in December.
The per-month sales total will likely rise in subsequent months and years as more retail outlets open up and supply shortages become less common.
Illinois Makes History
The state of Illinois was not the first state to legalize cannabis for adult use. Illinois was not the first state to legalize cannabis for adult use via legislative action (Vermont was first).
However, Illinois still made history when it became the first state to ever legalize a regulated adult-use cannabis industry via legislative action.
Illinois also made history by becoming the first state to launch a regulated adult-use industry that resulted from legislative action.
That’s significant because not every state has a citizen initiative process, and as Vermont demonstrated, not every legislature is prepared to legalize adult-use sales.
What happens in Illinois will largely impact the opinions of state lawmakers in non-legal sates. So how are things going in Illinois?
According to sales data, licensed retail outlets in Illinois sold a whopping $3.2 million dollars worth of cannabis products – on the first day.
Cannabis consumers in Illinois were obviously very excited to take advantage of legal adult-use cannabis options on New Year’s Day, with reports of long lines everywhere sales were allowed.
Why Success in Illinois and Michigan is so Important
Only a handful of states in the West have refrained from legalizing adult-use cannabis sales, and while legal sales prohibition is still largely the norm on the East Coast, momentum is very strong in the region.
Lawmakers in many states in the Midwest are, for whatever reason, reluctant to pass a legalization measure that includes industry regulations.
That political stance will likely prove to be harder to cling to with consumers from surrounding states flooding into Michigan and Illinois to make a legal purchase, and with it, generate tax revenue for those states.
How long can lawmakers in the region watch cannabis consumer dollars go out of state, and with it the jobs that the economic activity creates before they get on the right side of history?
That largely depends on how successful legal sales prove to be in Michigan and Illinois. If the industries there shine it will increase momentum in other Midwestern states.
If you are part of the legal industry in Michigan or Illinois, know that you are operating under a microscope so proceed appropriately and cautiously. Other states are counting on you!