We love Chitown. Now we have just another reason to go there in 2020! What could be better than sharing some good legal buds while visiting some friends? Michigan Ave here we come.
Who knows maybe White Sox and Cubs fans can get along thanks to a little sticky-icky.
When the most popular medical marijuana dispensary in Chicago begins selling recreational pot on New Year’s Day, it will operate like a busy restaurant. Dispensary 33 plans to take names from those in line and page customers by phone when they can get in.
The North Side cannabis shop will take that unusual step due to the huge crowds expected when weed sales become legal under state law at 6 a.m. Jan. 1, 2020. The celebration will be similar to the unofficial pot holiday of April 20, or 4/20, when a Dispensary 33 street fest and special deals this year drew 800 medical marijuana customers, marketing manager Abigail Watkins said. “It’ll be like 4/20 every day,” she said.
Statewide, that pent-up demand is expected to hit like rush-hour traffic — too much for the system to handle at once. With marijuana legalization in Illinois a month away, the clock is still ticking on a host of changes that need to be made to accommodate that momentous shift. Growers have expanded, dispensaries have remodeled and lawmakers have fine-tuned the law.
Weed activists and opponents alike are wondering if the state and industry will pull everything together in time for a smooth rollout. Potentially, all 55 existing medical dispensaries would be eligible to open retail stores on their current sites as well as at second sites. But regulators have licensed only 29 stores so far — to serve an estimated 1 million pot users — so officials expect long lines and sold-out products.
The tight supply means that weed is likely to be relatively expensive, industry trackers predict. Illinois already has some of the highest-priced medical cannabis in the country, averaging around $18 a gram and $300 an ounce, according to marijuanarates.com.
Legal sales will be taxed at 10% for cannabis up to 35% THC — the component of pot that gets users high — 20% for infused products like edibles, and 25% for products exceeding 35% THC. And buyers should bring cash — as a rule, pot shops don’t take checks or credit cards.
On the production side, out of 21 existing medical cannabis warehouses, regulators have awarded just 14 recreational growing licenses so far.
While it can take three months to grow a crop, many growers say they’ve already been expanding to meet increased demand. The law requires growers to keep a one-month supply of products reserved for medical users, yet some patients say they’ve already noticed some products are no longer available.
The senior adviser to the governor on cannabis control, former state Sen. Toi Hutchinson, said she isn’t worried. She said that regulators are meeting their deadlines in implementing the program. At the same time, she predicted that as in other states that legalized weed, Illinois customers should expect some shortages when sales begin.