During the first week of legal recreational marijuana sales in Illinois, tens of thousands of customers were seen queuing outside all except one of the nine dispensaries. The huge demand for weed has caused a supply shortage to hit the dispensaries and the owners are scrambling to respond.
Speaking to Washington Post, the co-owner of a dispensary located on the North Side of Chicago, Bryan Zises, said that instead of having people wait outside in the harsh cold for hours to be served, Dispensary 33 requested the customers to share their cellphone number so that they can call them when the dispensary is not crowded.
During the first three days of legal adult-use marijuana sales, the dispensary texted dozens of customers each hour between 9:00 a.m to 9:00 p.m. However, on the fourth day, they had exhausted their stock and were forced to turn away customers since the new shipment had not arrived for restocking. Zises said that there is a probability of the store running out of stock again on Tuesday.
Due to lack of stock, Zises’ dispensary did not sell recreational marijuana on Saturday and Sunday and resumed trading on Monday after it was restocked, but the stock was depleted within three hours.
On Monday evening, the dispensary tweeted that they are waiting on the deliveries from the cultivators. They also noted that they would serve as many adult-use customers as they can.
On New Year’s Day, the temperature was frigid, but this did not deter tens of thousands of customers from queuing outside the nine dispensaries waiting to purchase the newly legalized marijuana in Illinois.
During the first day of legal marijuana sales, five dispensaries sold more than $3 million of THC-infused products. After five days, marijuana customers in Illinois had bought recreational marijuana worth approximately $11 million, which is equated to more than 271,000 purchases.
However, because of the high number of eager marijuana customers, the state’s supply of marijuana was stretched, forcing many dispensaries to turn away customers before the first week of legal sales was over. Chicago has stringent licensing rules; thus, the large cultivators are struggling to keep up with the adult-use demand because previously, they were serving a much smaller medical marijuana market (87,000 users).
After the sale and possession of recreational marijuana were legalized in June, medical marijuana dispensaries were given six months to expand their operations to meet the demand of the recreational market come January 2020.
Illinois was the first state to legalize adult-use cannabis through legislation, and it is estimated that there would be more than 900,000 marijuana consumers, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Speaking to Chicago Sun-Times, economist Beau Whitney said that recreational marijuana demand is ten times more than that of medical marijuana and it will take several months before growers can cultivate enough cannabis to satisfy both medical and recreational customers even though pot is grown in greenhouses and could be harvested all year round as it matures irrespective of the season.
Unlike those retailers who have run out of weed, some of the largest cultivators also sell marijuana, and their shops still have stock on the shelves. The market for recreational cannabis will improve once the state issues additional licenses for 100 small growers and 185 new dispensaries.
Industry watchers think despite the shortages, the recreational marijuana industry in Illinois has gotten off to a good start and sector players like ChineseInvestors.com Inc. (OTCQB: CIIX) and LiveWire Ergogenics Inc. (OTC: LVVV) may be glad that their counterparts operating in the Illinois market have a bright future characterized by high product demand.
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