A recent study found that in the last year, cannabis registrations increased by more than 400%. It’s a sign of how popular marijuana has become and an indicator that legalization is working.

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Illinois has already surpassed the $669 million in adult-use recreational cannabis sales it had in 2020 during the first nine months of this year.

Sales in September were $121,717,709.51, compared to statewide sales of $67,648,362.14 in September 2020.

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation published a monthly report this week that indicates recreational cannabis sales totaled $997,067,100.34 in the first nine months of this year.

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Aside from the substantial growth in recreational cannabis sales over the past year, the number of Illinois residents who have registered for medicinal marijuana has continued to rise year after year.

Here are five things to know about the continued rise of medical marijuana registrations in Illinois, as reported in the state’s medicinal cannabis patient program’s annual report for 2021.

1. The increases are substantial.

According to a newly published study, 161,059 Illinois residents have registered as qualified medicinal cannabis patients, up 32% from the previous year (121,775). A person must be diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition by a physician to be eligible.

The number of qualified medical marijuana patients in the state for the fiscal year 2021 (July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021) is up 1,990 percent from fiscal year 2016 (7,707), which was the first full year medicinal cannabis was allowed to buy in the state.

The number of eligible patients this year is also more than twice that of the previous fiscal year (76,939).


2. Chronic pain and PTSD are at the top of the list.

31 percent of eligible medicinal marijuana patients in Illinois have been diagnosed with chronic pain. Post-traumatic stress disorder (16%), migraines (10%), osteoarthritis (10%), and cancer (5%) are the other most common ailments among individuals with medical cannabis cards.


3. An increase in the number of younger patients 

According to the most recent data, Illinoisans aged 31 to 40 make up the highest proportion of medical marijuana users (21.44), followed by those aged 41 to 50. (18.16 percent ).

Last year, individuals between the ages of 61 and 70 made up the highest proportion of medical cannabis patients (22.08), followed by those between the ages of 51 and 60. (21.65 percent ).

According to the study, individuals aged 61 to 70 account for 16.73 percent of all registered patients, ranking them fifth out of six age groups.

According to last year’s data, individuals between the ages of 31 and 40 made up 15.58 percent of the state’s registered medical cannabis population, placing them fourth among the six age groups, slightly behind those between the ages of 41 and 50. (16.95 percent ).

There are 40 children with autism, 32 with PTSD, 11 with seizure problems, and eight with cancer among the 115 kids in the state who are certified medical marijuana patients.


4. Expanding access to dispensaries

The restriction that medicinal marijuana users have only one authorized dispensary at a time was repealed by Public Act 102-0098 in July. As a result, purchases may be made at any dispensary.

The costs for applying for medicinal cannabis registration were reduced by half by Public Act 101-0363. The legislation, which was signed into law in August 2019, also allows doctors to grant patients lifetime certificates, with just a $50 fee and a valid driver’s license required for renewal every three years.

Autism, chronic pain, migraines, and osteoarthritis were among the additional qualifying severe medical conditions introduced by the legislation.

5. Take a look around your neighborhood

In Sangamon County, 1,587 individuals have been prescribed cannabis, a 49 percent rise from the previous year. Nonetheless, according to the 2020 U.S. Census, that accounts for 0.8 percent of the county’s population.

In comparison, Peoria County’s 1,568 registered medicinal marijuana users account for about 9% of the county’s population, representing a 46 percent increase in registrations over the previous year.

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