The state hasn’t required them to do so, but a handful of marijuana businesses in Illinois have voluntarily closed up shop in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation said this week that it is aware of at least eight adult use recreational marijuana businesses across the state that have suspended sales, a decision made of their own volition. Other businesses, meanwhile, have imposed patient-only hours, according to the agency.
One such business, Dispensary 33 in Chicago, said that it would only serve medical cannabis patients for the time being.
“We do understand that not everyone with a medical need has a medical card, but until further notice we can only serve medical patients,” the dispensary said, as quoted by NBC Chicago.
Another Chicago-based shop, Moca Modern Cannabis, said it was restricting sales to online order pickup for medical patients only, according to NBC Chicago.
The Effect on Illinois’ New Adult-Use Market
The pandemic may disrupt what has been a booming start for Illinois’ fledgling recreational marijuana market. Earlier this month, the state said that the market had generated $74.2 million during the first two months of operations, a figure that shows steady demand so far.
In January, the first month weed was sold legally for recreational use, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation said that marijuana generated $39,247,840.83 worth of sales. Nearly $9 million worth were sold to visitors from outside the state, while more than 970,000 marijuana products were sold in those 31 days. On New Year’s Day, when the marijuana market opened for business in Illinois, sales reached nearly $3.2 million. Sales in February dipped slightly, totaling nearly $35 million.
“The successful launch of the Illinois legal cannabis industry represents new opportunities for entrepreneurs and the very communities that have historically been harmed by the failed war on drugs,” said Toi Hutchinson, Pritzker’s senior advisor for cannabis control. “The administration is dedicated to providing multiple points of entry into this new industry, from dispensary owners to transporters, to ensure legalization is equitable and accessible for all Illinoisans.”