Just one week into legal recreational cannabis sales in Illinois, some dispensaries have halted sales of adult-use pot while others have been forced to temporarily close. Sales of recreational pot began briskly on January 1 after a legalization bill was passed by the Illinois legislature and signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker in June.
Under Illinois law, dispensaries licensed to sell medical marijuana must maintain at least a 30-day supply of products to meet patients’ needs. NuMed dispensaries in Chicago and Urbana pumped the brakes on recreational pot sales so that they would be able to continue to serve medical marijuana patients. Sean Johnson, the manager of NuMed in Urbana, told local media on Tuesday that adult-use customers had been cut off.
“Today will be the first day that we have suspended recreational sales, adult-use sales,” he said. “We have a door guy out there, unfortunately, turning people away for that.”
“We just had to make sure there was some kind of structure with how we would prioritize medical patients in accordance with the state,” Johnson added.
Although he isn’t sure when NuMed will begin to resume adult-use sales, Johnson said that he expects it to take at least two months before recreational growers are harvesting at capacity.
“A lot of these cultivators, it doesn’t seem like they really started doing anything until Pritzker signed the bill,” Johnson said. “So I don’t think we’ll see full production until around March.”
Chris McCloud, a spokesman for HCI Springfield, said that while the dispensary had not been forced to stop serving recreational cannabis customers as of yet, employees are assessing the situation on a daily basis.
“Those are day-by-day decisions that our dispensary staff has to make in terms of how much product can meet the demand,” he said.
Shops Re-Upping for the Weekend
At Midway Dispensary near the Midway Airport, sales of recreational products were halted on Sunday and aren’t expected to resume until Friday.
“The demand was huge,” said Neal McQueeney, principal officer of Midway. “We knew we were going to run out. It was a matter of when, not if.”
Keith McGinnis, principal officer at NuMed, said that efforts to slow sales of recreational cannabis only delayed the inevitable. Recreational sales at the Chicago NuMed were suspended on Saturday.
“It didn’t matter how much you had, you’re going to run out,” he said. “You can set limits, purchasing limits, but still you’re going to run out.”
At Dispensary33 in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood, sales to recreational customers were stopped for the weekend but resumed on a limited basis on Monday. General manager Paul Lee said that while the dispensary hadn’t run out of recreational product completely, some had sold out so options were limited.
“The ability to choose (from) a variety of products is important,“ Lee said. “I didn’t want to limp through. I have plenty of things like (vape) cartridges and concentrate, but the most sought-after options, edibles, and flower, were being drained at an explosive rate.”
Sunnyside dispensaries in Elmwood Park, Rockford, Champaign, and the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago remained closed on Monday for both medical and recreational customers “to reset and give the staff that has worked five 14-hour days straight a break,” spokesman Jason Erkes said in a statement.
Other dispensaries in Illinois also had difficulty staying in stock for recreational customers. Moca Modern Cannabis in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago stopped recreational sales Sunday and Monday. Thrive dispensaries in Anna and Harrisburg closed early on Friday and aren’t expected to reopen until Thursday or Friday.