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2021’s BIGGEST HEADLINES in Illinois Cannabis News

2021 was a big deal for Illinois cannabis news. There were a lot of headlines, a lot left out, and a lot still up in the air. In fact, for being only the second year of cannabis legalization, it was suspiciously quiet in the news. One thing that wasn’t hushed was the millions, and confirmed billion dollars earned by Illinois Cannabis companies. I’m going to be running through some of 2021’s biggest headlines, click on the image to go through to the article features. I’m going to be starting off in January of 2021:

Illinois Cannabis News 2021

On January 4th we learned that Illinois made $669 million in recreational cannabis sales in 2020. That’s more than double the amount sold for medical cannabis. In only it’s first year of legalization, cannabis blew the predictions out of the water and established itself as a billion dollar industry in Illinois.


Illinois Cannabis News 2021

One of the most controversial pieces published by Grown In showing that less than 2% of dispensaries are owned by Black and Latinos. The article broke down a report by the IDFPR that was not immediately posted online. The report shows that vast inequalities to minorities and women and caused tension among social equity groups.


Illinois Cannabis News 2021

Headlines like this were a fake hope for consumers who made it a mission to support Black and Brown weed. The simple announcement of a proposed bill that never came. It’s both disappointing and interesting how these social equity leaders seem to go from disagreeing with Pritzker, to praising him, to disagreeing with each other, to wanting to come together. We are currently still waiting for the 75 issued licenses to be used.


Illinois Cannabis News 2021

Introducing a new avenue to educate about cannabis on the Southside of Chicago, Olive Harvey boasts a brand new hemp greenhouse. They hope to not only educate on the laws, history, and basics of cannabis, but they are also passionate about sustainability and the benefits of growing cannabis in green houses.


Illinois Cannabis News 2021

In WTF news, Illinois based Mars Wrigley sued a number of businesses they claim infringed on their trademarks. Honestly I think it’s a business move, if they one day might want to get in on that cannabis cash. In fact, the strain name “Zkittles” is more so a compliment. We can only wait for federal legalization and see how many companies have secretly had a foot in the entire time. Cannabis brands in dispensaries create their own candies and names, as these lawsuits targeted e-commerce sites.


Illinois Cannabis News 2021

It’s such a funny story. After Illinois Cannabis Lottery (finally) announced the new round of winners, a Michigan based cannabis company sues Illinois because they don’t think Illinois based businesses should get priority. It’s a stark reminder that cannabis, to so many corporations, is just business as usual. A move that they probably saw as strategic, turned out to not be worth the backlash.


Illinois Cannabis News 2021

A jarring headline that only confused people more about the current status of obtaining a cannabis license in Illinois. While 55 licenses were awarded, they are still currently unable to be used. These same social equity winners are losing money instead of getting it back as was the initial promise. A great read that features Helios Lab CEO Ambrose Jackson as a social equity winner.


Illinois Cannabis News 2021

After not making ENOUGH money from cannabis, Lori Lightfoot signed off on allowing marihuana sales within much of downtown Chicago. As told by Alderman Raymundo Lopez “The people who are going to benefit from this rush job are fronts for individuals who are not true social equity individuals.” It was a fast move to attract the newly announced lottery winners, just another way for the city to make money.


Illinois Cannabis News 2021

In sad news, the last Illinois based cannabis company was sold off to Miami based Ayr Wellness. A grim move in an already grim industry, we were watching the year end without much real progress in Illinois. It’s hard not to give up on Illinois Cannabis, especially when it’s giving up on itself.


Illinois Cannabis News 2021

And with a single headline, the eyes were back on Illinois Cannabis brands, if only for a second. We got to read the disturbing, yet foreseeable results of a number of pre-rolls in Illinois. Verano was outed for selling moldy cannabis. Other brands include Dog Walkers and Green Thumb Industries. The piece led to a few follow up pieces about accountability in Illinois cannabis, but interest in the topic suspiciously ran out.


Illinois Cannabis News 2021

Toi Hutchinson, a pioneer in the marihuana laws that shaped our state, steps down from working for Illinois and decides to focus her efforts on weed laws through out the US. It’s a bold move, but one that, with her experience, could potentially make a big change in Cannabis laws in the US. Still, it didn’t stop many from feeling as if Toi was abandoning Illinois when it had still not yet followed through on its promises to social equity.

Illinois Cannabis News in 2021 was interesting, yet i still don’t think it’s being reported on effectively.

Still I look forward to a prosperous year for all the license winners and the people working to social equity a reality, and not just a word. I look forward to continuing talking about these topics and I hope that we have a 2022 where we can shop for weed from Black and Brown owned companies. Thank you for being here for the past year, and I look forward to another.

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