Following Illinois' hugely successful launch of legal weed sales, stores throughout the state are now reporting cannabis shortages.
On January 1st, Illinois officially joined ten other U.S. states by beginning their recreational weed sales, and it was a huge success.
Adults aged 21 and older could now visit licensed dealers and purchase up to 30 grams of flower, edibles and concentrates from 37 state-sanctioned stores in Illinois. At the end of the first day of legalization, it was estimated that nearly 80,000 people had purchased marijuana products, bringing in roughly $3.2 million for dispensary owners across the state. Illinois' first day of legal weed sales brought in more revenue than any other U.S. state that had legalized cannabis, only tying with Oregon who also brought in $3.2 million.
Though the festivities quickly came to a halt, just one week after Illinois launched its weed sales, as dispensaries began reporting very limited supplies of cannabis. Some stores were even forced to close early until they were resupplied, keeping only minor amounts of weed available for medicinal patients as required by law.
Neal McQueeney, the owner of Midway Dispensary in Chicago stated that the shop had stopped selling recreational cannabis products on the weekend and doesn't expect to resume sales until the following Friday.
The demand was huge. We knew we were going to run out. It was a matter of when, not if.Neal McQueeney, Owner of Midway Dispensary in Chicago
At least six other dispensaries in Chicago were closed to recreational customers on Monday, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, with Jason Erkes from Cresco Labs saying the company had to shut its Sunnyside shops in Chicago, Rockford and Champaign to give staff that has worked "five 14-hour days straight" a break.
Erkes went on to say that "We have limited supplies left. We're certainly out of some products and some strains, but we put rations in place at the beginning when things launched to make sure we could stretch our products as far as we can to make sure we serve as many recreational customers as we can."
Though the shortages weren't a surprise, states Paul Isaac, a spokesman for the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation who commented that "shortages were expected to occur as they have occurred in every other state that has legalized cannabis."
Mr. Isaac is indeed correct on that front, with Canada, the first G7 country to federally legalize cannabis, famously having a very rocky rollout to its initial cannabis sales due to a lack of stores, and a lack of pot. Though if Canada is anything to go off, it's only a matter of time before Illinois overcomes its pot shortage and gets its supplies in order. In Canada's case, the country is now grappling with an oversupply of cannabis.
Though NBC Chicago predicts the shortage could last for weeks, if not, months, so if you're in Illinois, you may want to consider stocking up.
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