The first day of recreational cannabis sales in Illinois generated nearly $3.2 million. By the close of business on January 2, sales had leapt to $5.5 million. Total retail transactions are climbing into the hundreds of thousands. By any measure, the start of legal retail in Illinois has been an absolute frenzy, and several Illinois dispensaries are already tapping out. Many shops have already run out of recreational weed, while others are taking a day off to give staff a reprieve from serving the thousands of customers who’ve been lining up outside their doors.
Monday’s hiatus, however, won’t last long. Dispensaries low on stock expect to resume sales to recreational customers later this week. And stores that still have flower and other products on their shelves will reopen for business tomorrow.
Dispensaries Halt Recreational Sales to Ensure Medical Cannabis Patients Have Access
Midway Dispensary in Garfield Ridge. Uptown’s Dispensary 33. THC Dispensary on the Near West Side. These are just some of the Chicago-area dispensaries that ran out of recreational weed on Sunday, just the fifth day of legal sales in Illinois.
Demand for legal weed has depleted stocks of recreational marijuana products across the state, but especially in Chicago community areas. And it’s not just that consumer interest exceeded dispensaries’ projections. Besides that, Illinois cultivators haven’t had much time to grow for the recreational market. Illinois regulators only awarded the first recreational grow license last summer.
With the recreational marijuana supply chain still developing, stores have quickly run out of flower. Some shops, like the Midway Dispensary that sits just blocks from Chicago Midway International Airport, still have concentrates, edibles and vape cartridges in stock. But to comply with a state law, shops that have officially run out of flower have had to suspend recreational marijuana sales entirely.
Under Illinois’ medical marijuana law, dispensaries authorized to sell medical cannabis must maintain a 30-day inventory of products at all times for patients. The rule gives priority to medical cannabis patients to ensure disruptions in the supply chain—or a surge in recreational sales—do not hinder access to needed medication.
Some Shops Close to Give Staff a Break from Purchase Frenzy
Other dispensaries are crying uncle even though they haven’t yet run out of recreational products. Since legal retail sales began on January 1, shops have had to manage a never-ending string of customers. Dispensary staff have been working 14-hour shifts, serving in some cases upwards of 10,000 customers, each day since.
As a result, some Illinois dispensaries, like those in Lakeview, Elmwood Park, Rockford and Champaign, are closing up shop on Monday to give staff the day off. Without a doubt, the lines will be waiting for them when they open again on Tuesday.