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First Day of Legal Pot Sales in This State Was a Big One

Nearly $3.2 million of cannabis was sold in Illinois on Wednesday
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 3, 2020 10:35 AM CST
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Jackie Ryan, right, of Forest Park, Ill., becomes the first person in Illinois to purchase recreational marijuana as she purchases marijuana products at a dispensary Wednesday in Chicago.   (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

(Newser) – It was freezing in many parts of Illinois on New Year's Day, but that didn't stop droves of people from standing in line for the state's first day of legal marijuana sales. And the day brought in a hefty haul: NBC Chicago reports that, per the state's Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, more than 77,000 transactions took place throughout the state, bringing in almost $3.2 million in cannabis sales. "I have waited 46 years for this moment," says one man who walked two hours to a Chicago-area dispensary to make his purchase, adding he may frame his gram of pot as a "memento." To buy pot in the state, the 11th in the country to legalize marijuana for recreational use, customers must have a government-issued ID to prove they're 21 or older, and all purchases are cash only.

"The amazing thing about that is that there's a significant portion of these dollars that go directly into this community reinvestment fund, so we can continue to rebuild communities that have been hardest hit by the war on drugs," an adviser to Gov. JB Pritzker said at a Thursday presser, per CNN Business, which notes Pritzker expunged more than 11,000 records for minor cannabis convictions earlier in the week. "So sales are great, but let's never lose sight on the impact that we're having on families around this state." CBS News notes that cannabis remains illegal at the federal level. In addition to the District of Columbia, Illinois joins 10 other states in legalizing pot for recreational use: Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington. (Read more Illinois stories.)

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