Illinois marijuana legalization could spur other states to do same

Illinois, the nation’s first state to legalize commercial recreational marijuana through its Legislature, may spark similar legalization efforts elsewhere in the country – and could serve as a blueprint for others, according to industry executives.

That could open the doors to millions – if not billions – of dollars in fresh business opportunities for cannabis growers, manufacturers, retailers and ancillary businesses.

Marijuana Business Daily estimates that Illinois’ new rec law alone could generate up to $2.5 billion in annual sales when the program matures, depending in part on how many tourists buy adult-use MJ products while visiting Chicago – the third-largest city in the U.S. – and other parts of the state.

“The gates are open now for state legislatures to tackle the issue,” Morgan Fox, media relations director for the National Cannabis Industry Association, said of Illinois’ new law.