Article: Industry expert says lowering taxes on Illinois legal marijuana could boost sales

Illinois consumers pay the second highest taxes in the nation when they buy legal recreational marijuana, but an industry expert says sales may increase with lower taxes.

According to the website Headset, the average item price in Illinois is currently 89% higher than the rest of the U.S. market. With a tax of over 31%, only the state of Washington is higher.

“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.

Amanda Reiman with the marijuana analytics company New Frontier Data said if Illinois lowered the taxes on cannabis, it may attract more sales and keep their core consumers.

“I want these consumers especially to be using the regulated market because they’re spending more and they’re buying more than somebody who is maybe buying once or twice a year,” Reiman told The Center Square.

The state of Illinois made $445 million in tax revenue from the sale of legal marijuana in the last fiscal year.

Despite having the third largest retail market in the country, Illinois is last when it comes to the number of cannabis brands available. There are just 118 brands in the Illinois market, compared to nearly 1,400 in California and 800 in Michigan.

“If I am somebody who is purchasing in the state of Illinois, and I don’t want to pay the high taxes, then my choice is either going to be an illicit market that might not have the same quality or the same options, or it is going to be to drive to a nearby state,” Reiman said.

Michigan, Missouri and Minnesota now allow recreational cannabis sales.

A report showed that pot smokers from Wisconsin accounted for an estimated $36 million in tax revenue on marijuana purchased in Illinois. Despite the high prices, Wisconsin residents spent $121 million on weed in Illinois in 2022.

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