Corn, soybeans and cannabis: Those are Illinois’ three most valuable crops, with the latter responsible for $2.8 billion in adult-use sales since the state launched its recreational retail market in 2020.

While Illinois’ corn/grain market had an $11.8-billion production value in 2021, and soybeans represented an $8.9-billion market value, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), cannabis was next in line in the Corn Belt state.

In 2021, Illinois adult-use cannabis sales were just shy of $1.4 billion, according to monthly figures from the state’s Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR).

But 2022 sales are on pace for a record haul. Adult-use retailers reported $126.8 million in June, bringing the year-to-date total to $750.6 million, representing a 20% increase from the first six months of last year.

While June 2022 sales dipped 2.3% from the previous month, Illinois’ adult-use retail market recorded its largest grossing four-month stretch—from March to June—since the program was established.

Sales figures for the second half of 2022 have the potential to go even bigger.

Illinois’ adult-use cannabis footprint is set to expand with 185 conditional licenses scheduled to be issued in three phases, starting with 119 licenses in the Naperville-Chicago-Elgin region by July 22 or earlier, according to IDFPR.

Another 39 licenses will be issued by Aug. 5 in areas that include Peoria, Rockford and St. Louis.

And 27 licenses will be issued by Aug. 19 in Bloomington, Springfield and other areas.

Those licenses will expand upon Illinois’ current 110 dispensaries in the state.

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