Retail cannabis sales dropped more than $4 million between February and January, state tax collectors announced this last week. The drop from $39.2 million to $34.8 million spurred on a thousand gossipy conjectures on whether or not taxes are too high, the illegal market’s continuing draw, supply problems, colder weather, and that maybe the first month’s numbers were a result of one-time novelty sales. Medical cannabis sales experienced a big drop from January to February too: From $27.4 million to $23.4 million after twelve straight months of monthly sales increases. 

But as my college statistics professor screamed practically every class, “Two data points don’t make a trend!” March’s sales numbers will be sure to set off intense policy debates.

Meanwhile, Chicago’s Zoning Board of Appeals approved a slew of recreational dispensary applications, two pairs of which are competing for the same state license. The city Zoning Board’s move is unlike many smaller towns, which are essentially picking winners through the local zoning approval process before they can get to the state license stage. Now, two competing shops in River North and two on Goose Island will race to build out their shops and pass a state inspection. 

The first stores to do so are likely to win a state license, a great setup for a madcap reality television show like “Restaurant: Impossible”, where hapless cannabis shop owners would be set upon by a muscle-bound, cannabis sales expert yelling about table placement and pot recipes. Produced by Dick Wolf, we’d name it “Chicago Cannabis” and this should totally happen.

And also, another reminder, since we’re still just getting started with this twice a week thing: On Monday mornings you should watch for our weekly recap of the last week’s news, a cool chart and a review of coming events across Illinois (that’s this email). Then, Thursday mornings you get Brad Spirrison’s unparalleled original cannabis reporting. Got something we should tell people about? Drop me an email at Better yet: Click the button below and tell your friends how awesome the Grown In newsletter is. The karma you’ll earn from it is worth at least one or two really bad things you did a while back.


Editor Mike is a co-founder and the editor of Grown In, a U.S. national cannabis industry newsletter and training company. His career has taken him from Capitol Hill to Chicago City Hall, from...