Long lines and mix of happy and frustrated customers marked the first day of adult-use cannabis sales in Illinois. While some of those customers encountered supply shortages or point-of-sale glitches (or dispensaries that they only thought were licensed for adult-use sales), many on the ground in this newest cannabis market reported smooth sailing.
Sales began at 6 a.m. at most retail locations, and businesses made sure to greet the customers who got up early to take advantage of this historic day.
“The early bird gets the herb!” Oak Park resident Jack Fitzgerald shouted as he left Seven Point in the morning, according to the Chicago Tribune’s roundup of the day’s activities. The Chicago Sun-Times noted that some customers had started lining up outside stores as early as Tuesday night.
In stores throughout the state, the mood was often jovial—despite the frigid temperatures—and raucous cheers were a common refrain amid the day’s business.
At this point, the state has licensed 43 dispensaries to sell adult-use cannabis products. (On Jan. 1, six of those dispensaries were reportedly not ready yet, according to the Chicago Tribune.) More retail licenses are expected, and we’ve been watching the lottery process unfold in highly contentious neighborhoods in Chicago.
Among the first customers in the state was Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton, who purchased gummies at the Clark Street Sunnyside* location.
“We’re ecstatic for our Sunnyside* dispensaries to begin serving recreational customers on such a historic day that launches a new era of cannabis and the development of an industry that will bring greater justice, social equity and business ownership opportunities throughout the state,” Charlie Bachtell, Cresco Labs CEO and co-founder, said in a public statement. “With 13 million residents and 100 million annual tourists, Illinois is predicted to be one of the largest recreational cannabis markets in the United States. Cresco is uniquely positioned in the supply-constrained state, with permission for the largest cultivation footprint at 630,000 square feet and ten retail dispensaries, including three in high traffic areas in the city of Chicago.”
Across the state, Jan. 1 was hailed as an historic day. And the first day of sales followed another cannabis achievement in Illinois, when on Dec. 31 Gov. J.B. Pritzker pardoned more than 11,000 cannabis convictions in the state.
“Today is historic not only for Illinois, but for the U.S. cannabis industry," Revolution Global CEO Mark de Souza said in a public statement. "The Illinois adult-use market has enormous potential to do good for the state and all Illinoisans. Today would not have been possible without the tireless work of countless individuals in government, cannabis, and community groups who saw the power and potential of the plant.”