Posted: Jul. 12, 2020 12:01 am
QUINCY — Without a trace of pomp or circumstance, a pair of locally imposed sales taxes on cannabis sold at Quincy’s two dispensaries went into effect July 1 as the state reported another record-breaking month of cannabis sales.
Under state law, the city and county both are able to tax sales at the dispensaries, Herbal Remedies and Rise Quincy, at 3%, but City Comptroller Sheri Ray said the city likely won’t receive its first cannabis sales tax revenue until September 2020.
As the city awaits its first local cannabis sales tax revenue report, officials say the city’s portion of the shared cannabis tax has eclipsed $10,000. The city received the following amounts from the state tax: March, $2,894.92; April, $3,794.25; May, $1,914.64; and June, $1,483.
Revenues from the city’s portion of the sales tax will be deposited into the city’s general revenue account after city officials agreed to not earmark the tax revenue for specific purposes, such as city’s police and fire pensions or infrastructure projects, until they had more of an idea of how much revenue the tax would generate.
According to data from the state, cannabis sales have remained strong through the pandemic with June sales topping $47 million — a record for the state.
The previous high of $44.3 million was set in the month of May.
The growth in statewide sales was partly driven by out-of-state residents who purchased $12.3 million worth of goods in June, another record for the state.
In all, Illinois dispensaries sold nearly 1 million total items in the month of June.
Over the first six months of legalized marijuana in the state, Illinois dispensaries have racked up more than $239 million in sales.
“If you look at the state as a whole, then definitely I would say that cannabis sales are exceeding expectations across the board,” said Derrick Levy, who is the district manager for Green Thumb Industries, the parent company of Rise Quincy, 2703 Broadway. Levy did not disclose sales figures for Rise Quincy, but said the dispensary experienced “strong sales” since opening in late January and that those sales have continued to grow.
Across town at Herbal Remedies, Chris Wildrick said sales at the dispensary have not tapered off either.
“In mid-March when everyone started being affected by COVID-19, we thought it would slow down and that we might not be as busy, but business has remained steady. In fact, our business has slowly been increasing as we have started to receive more flower with our deliveries,” said Wildrick, the dispensary’s chief operating officer.
She and Levy say they are not anticipating that the dispensaries will experience a decline in sales because the local sales taxes are now collected.
“We’ve not seen a decrease in sales as a result of the additional 6% sales taxes being collected. I think most people knew the taxes were coming eventually,” Wildrick said.
Wildrick and Levy say supply chain issues continue to hinder cannabis sales.
“It is still clear that we don’t have enough flower to meet demand, so as the supply of flower ebbs and flows so will sales,” Levy said.
Wildrick agreed, saying, “As more cultivators begin to expand the size of their harvest then we will see a better supply of flower coming into Quincy. More flower coming into Quincy is a benefit to the city because it means more sales which means more tax revenue for the city.”
Wildrick said Herbal Remedies has temporarily paused its plans to open a second dispensary at 1837 Broadway, which is the former home of Daylight Donuts, due to the supply issues.
“We don’t have a defined (opening) date right now. We are going to hold off for a while because we want to make sure we can provide an adequate product selection, including flower, at both adult-use locations to meet the needs of our customers,” Wildrick said. Herbal Remedies’ website has that the second dispensary location is under construction and that company officials hoped to open the dispensary sometime in summer 2020.