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Cannabis Briefs for February 16, 2021

February 16, 2021

•Recreational cannabis sales in Illinois inched upward once again in January, hitting a new high of $88.8 million. The market grew by $2 million over December’s total of $86.8 million, not as dramatic as some previous month-to-month jumps of $10 million or more but an indication nonetheless of untapped demand in the state. Sales broke down to $63.7 million for Illinois residents and $25 million to out-of-state visitors. Approximately 1.9 million items were sold in January. Last year Illinois sold $1 billion of medical and recreational cannabis combined—this year recreational sales are currently on pace to hit $1 billion on their own.

•A South Dakota judge has struck down the recreational cannabis legalization measure that voters approved last November. Governor Kristi Noem, who opposes the measure, directed state funds to Highway Patrol superintendent Rick Miller to challenge the initiative on procedural grounds—namely that it violated the rule limiting a ballot measure to one subject. Sixth Circuit judge Christina Klinger agreed with the plaintiffs, essentially reasoning that the bill laid out plans for too many considerations—including issues such as penalties for possession by minors, occupational licensing, and taxation, thus extending beyond a single subject. The decision is expected to be appealed to the South Dakota Supreme Court.

•Colorado has begun issuing licenses for cannabis delivery businesses. Colorado legalized recreational cannabis in 2012 but did not consider delivery businesses until 2019 when the state legislature approved the idea and set 2021 as the starting point. The first licensee is Colorado Harvest Company, a three-store operation with two locations in Denver and one in its Aurora suburb. Aurora opted into delivery in December while Denver’s city council plans to vote on it next month. Colorado Harvest Company is awaiting final approval from Aurora lawmakers but expects to begin delivering to the greater Aurora area in March.

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