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Study Finds Illinois Pot Prices Are Among Nation's Highest

Pot prices remain higher in Illinois, the third largest cannabis market in the nation, than in most other states.

Illinois saw $950 million in pot sales in the first half of this year, but the average price per item in Illinois is 89% higher than in the rest of the U.S. cannabis market, according to a new report from Headset, a company that provides data and analytics to the cannabis industry, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Though she hadn’t seen the report, Courtney Campbell, who formerly worked in a cannabis dispensary in the Chicago area, wasn’t surprised that prices in Illinois were on the high end of the list. “When I worked at the dispensary, people would come in from other states where it’s legal and they were, like, astonished at how much they are paying,” Campbell said. “Prices are really high.” She said legal weed is such an in-demand commodity now that people will shrug off high prices at dispensaries. “I think people will buy it no matter how much it costs,” she said.

Sales figures so far this year suggest Campbell’s right. In the first six months of 2023, Illinois retailers reported more than $950 million in total cannabis sales, putting the state on pace to surpass the record total sales from 2022, when $1.55 billion worth of marijuana products were sold, according to figures reported by the state. Illinois has relatively few distinct brands, with just 118, compared to Washington State, which has over 1,000, and Michigan, which has about 800. With such a limited selection, the report states it is “no surprise,” sales are highly concentrated within a few brands. About 68% of sales in Illinois come from the market’s top 10 brands, Headset found. It's also common in Illinois for retailers to sell house brand products, which when coupled with the small selection of brands, likely contributes to the high prices, according to Headset. Ivan D., 52, said the prices wouldn’t be so bad if taxes weren’t also steep. He thinks the state should lower them. “Otherwise, everybody is going to want to do it in the street, and buy it off of anybody,” Ivan said. “What would you rather do? Would you rather get a lot more stuff from somebody who’s selling it in the street, or would you rather come here and pay all that tax and get a lot less.”


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