Apart from the weed shortage in Illinois, marijuana shops are also experiencing a shortage of state-approved employees who can work behind the counter since the sale of marijuana was launched on January 1.
Due to a current marijuana shortage, some of the marijuana shops selling adult-use marijuana have closed shop or reduced their sale hours. Others, such as Cresco Labs and PharmaCann, closed their shops on Monday to give their employees a much-deserved break after working five days of long shifts. The shops did not close due to the weed shortage.
On Saturday, the spokesman for Cresco Labs, Jason Erkes, said that the company leaders were working cash registers because they did not have enough employees.
On New Year’s Day, the CEO of Green Thumb Industries, Ben Kovler, was working behind the counter at the company’s Rise dispensary located in Mundelein.
Before the launch of marijuana sales on January 1, marijuana shops knew they had to increase their workforce to manage the enormous number of recreational customers. However, many of the employees have not been able to start working because the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation in Illinois has not issued them with the required identification cards.
On Wednesday, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation issued a statement saying that it had issued approximately 2,000 marijuana dispensary agent cards. The department received an influx of new applications from people looking to work in the recreational industry ahead of January 1, when the program was set to be launched.
The department is working round the clock to make sure that they are within the statutorily mandated timeframe in processing the applications. The Department Of Financial and Professional Regulation is performing background checks on all the applicants to ensure that they meet the licensing requirements.
Although marijuana companies are reluctant to criticize the IDFPR, they have discussed the staffing challenges with the state officials.
Marijuana companies are extra strict on security because of the fears expressed by the lawmakers about crime associated with the illicit marijuana market industry. The shortage of state-approved marijuana employees has been a challenge since the onset of marijuana sales in Illinois.
A cannabis industry veteran from the state of Colorado who has been involved in the marijuana business in several other states, Kayvan Khalatbari, said that in Ohio, it could take nearly two months before the state approves an employee. He further noted that since the launch of marijuana on January 1, employees have been working crazy hours, and marijuana shop owners have been seen doing jobs they are not used to. This has contributed to the slow turnaround time for serving customers, which has been a real hindrance to businesses.
Experts say that for the sake of stability and future growth of the Illinois weed industry, companies like Plus Products Inc. (CSE: PLUS) (OTCQX: PLPRF) are hoping that the employee and product shortages are resolved soon so that consumers aren’t forced to resort to the illicit market.
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