Cannabis consumers are crossing state lines to visit dispensaries in Illinois, where sales of recreational marijuana became legal on New Year’s Day. Four of the five states that border Illinois — Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, and Missouri — have not yet legalized cannabis for recreational use. Sales of recreational marijuana began in Michigan, the remaining state that shares a border with Illinois, one month ago.
Chelsea Salmon, an employee of Nature’s Treatment of Illinois in the town of Milan, said that people were crossing the nearby Mississippi River to shop.
“There’s been a lot of Iowa people coming,” Salmon said, adding that she expected them to keep visiting the store as long as recreational cannabis continues to be illegal in Iowa.
“I mean, we’re right on the border,” she said. “We’re gonna have so many people who are gonna be coming.”
Customers lined up to make their purchases at Nature’s Treatment, where a heated tent provided food trucks and portable toilets to make the wait more bearable.
“I’m glad to see the people from Iowa coming, personally,” said Julie Webster, from Moline, Illinois. “We want everyone to come and share what we got.”
John Squires of Urbandale, Iowa said he wasn’t concerned about taking his purchases across state lines to go home.
“I don’t care,” he said. “I just don’t think it’s that big of a deal at all.”
Stocking Up the Stash
At Rise Mundelein in Mundelein, Illinois, customers waited for as long as five hours to make their purchases. Izzy Miller said that he had come from Kenosha, Wisconsin to stock up on a gamut of recreational cannabis products.
“I’m gonna buy a whole zip if they let me buy a whole zip, some edibles, some weed concentrate, wax, dabs,” said Miller.
At Mission South Shore, the only recreational cannabis dispensary to open in Chicago so far, customers came from as far away as Kentucky and Indiana. Tayron Ross of Lexington, who uses cannabis to relieve stress and chronic back pain, said that he hopes that his home state will follow Illinois’ lead.
“Nobody should be criminalized for smoking marijuana,” said Ross. “Kentucky is definitely missing out on what the money can do for the [state].”
Nigel Rowl and Vanessa Moreno drove more than an hour from Indiana to shop at Mission South Shore. They planned to take their purchase to Rowl’s brother’s house in Illinois instead of taking cannabis across state lines.
“I wouldn’t chance that,” he said.
One man has already been arrested in Indiana after he purchased cannabis in Illinois.
Under the state’s new recreational cannabis law, Illinois residents 21 and over may purchase up to 30 grams of flower, five grams of cannabis concentrates, and edibles containing up to 500 milligrams of THC. Visitors from out of state are limited to half that amount.