Illinois cannabis companies hiring hundreds as sales net $10M in tax revenue in 1st month

The sale of recreational marijuana in Illinois generated $7.3 million in cannabis tax revenue last month, the Illinois Department of Revenue announced Monday.

The Revenue Department also reported that an additional $3.1 million was generated in retail sales tax revenue. Dispensaries across the state sold nearly $40 million in recreational pot last month.

Toi Hutchinson, an adviser to Gov. J.B. Pritzker on cannabis control, said the goal of Illinois’ legal cannabis industry is to build a socially equitable program to help communities most harmed by the nation’s war on drugs.

"Revenue raised in this first month will soon begin flowing back into those communities to begin repairing the damage done by the failed policies of the past and creating new opportunities for those who have been left behind for far too long,” Hutchinson said.


Cresco Labs' spokesman Jason Erkes took FOX 32 on an after-hours tour of the company's River North headquarters, where they're trying to hire 300 new employees.

“With limited supply, limited dispensaries open and hour-long wait times at a lot of stores, people surely came out and spent money,” said Erkes.

Other marijuana retailers are also trying to ramp up production at growing sites in Illinois and to hire hundreds of people.

“We're expanding our corporate office here, for everything from supply chain and lawyers and people that manage the books, marketing people and human resources recruiters to help hire the other people,” said Erkes. 

In his proposed $42 billion fiscal year 2021 budget released last week, Pritzker projected marijuana sales would generate $28 million in cannabis tax revenue for the remainder of fiscal year 2020, which ends June 30. Illinois officials estimate that as the industry matures, marijuana sales will grow to $127 million in fiscal year 2021, of which $46 million will go to the state’s general funds.

If the trend continues, state and local governments will have some extra cash, as pot growers and sellers move to hire thousands of new workers here. 

In January, Illinois was the second state in the Midwest to launch recreational pot sales. Michigan was the first.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.