The months after the coronavirus broke out were characterized by a severe decline in commerce. Industries like airlines, food service and tourism were especially hit, with a large chunk of the more than 30 million Americans who lost their jobs coming from these sectors. Cannabis, on the other hand has weathered the storm fairly well. There was a spike in marijuana sales in the weeks leading up to the shutdown and self-isolation orders and in the months since, several states have reported record breaking sales.

On Monday, Illinois’ Department of Financial and Professional Regulation announced that the state had recorded another record-breaking month of recreational marijuana sales. Illinois is reporting nearly $61 million in adult-use cannabis sales for the month of July, with dispensaries selling 1,270.063 marijuana items, a new record. Illinois residents bought $44,749,787 worth of marijuana products while out of state visitors accounted for $16,207,193 worth of marijuana. Sales to out of state customers support Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s prediction during his State of the State address in January that cannabis tourism would boost the state’s tax revenue.

Marijuana sales in July trampled on the record previously set in June. Illinois reported more than $47.6 million in total sales that month with stores selling nearly a million (994,545) marijuana products. In-state residents accounted for $35.3 million while out of state visitors bought $12.4 million worth of marijuana products. At a time when states are seeing a massive reduction in taxes and their coffers are bleeding money, tax revenue from cannabis sales are a godsend.

Since retail cannabis sales started in January, the state of Illinois has earned $52 million in cannabis tax revenue, with 25% going toward a community reinvestment program designed to support communities most affected by the war on drugs. And with most of the country wracked by protests against aggressive policing of these communities, these funds are much needed. “Illinois has done more to put justice and equity at the forefront of this industry than any other state in the nation, and we’re ensuring that communities that have been hurt by the war on drugs have the opportunity to participate,” says Gov. Pritzker, who pardoned more than 11,000 people with prior marijuana convictions before the program was implemented.

In May, the state announced that it would avail $31.5 million in marijuana revenue-funded restorative grants to repair the damage caused by the decades’ long war on drugs. Illinois’ legalization bill established a Restore, Reinvest, and Renew program that provides grant opportunities for “communities impacted by economic disinvestment, violence, and the severe and multilayered harm caused by the war on drugs.”

Analysts say Illinois’ success provides a shiny example that sector players like The Alkaline Water Company Inc. (NASDAQ: WTER) (CSE: WTER) can refer to when explaining the benefits of having a regulated cannabis market.

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