Assuming Governor JB Pritzker (D) signs the cannabis legalization bill that just passed through the state legislature, recreational cannabis sales will start on Jan. 1, 2020.
States like Massachusetts and Maine have struggled for years to get their recreational cannabis markets off the ground. But consumers shouldn't be too concerned about the same thing happening in Illinois. If everything goes well, recreational cannabis will be available to Illinois adults in about six months time.
Under the legalization bill that was recently passed by the state legislature, all 55 of Illinois' licensed medical marijuana dispensaries will be able to apply for permits to sell recreational weed as well. Additionally, each dispensary can apply to open a second location.
Both of these things mean that Illinois' recreational cannabis market should be well poised to make a strong start when it begins next year. And with this in mind, many dispensary owners are already gearing up for expansion.
"We're going to have to staff up because now you're going to have to perform like 4/20 almost every day," Paul Lee, general manager of Dispensary 33 in Uptown Chicago told Chicago Tribune.
Other stores, like Mission Chicago South Shore Medical Marijuana Dispensary, are working to streamline their operations. General manager Rick Armstrong said he working to create more of a self service setup in their locations. Shoppers will also be able to buy their cannabis online and pick it up instore to avoid lineups.
On top of the new recreational customers, dispensaries are also expecting to get more patients through their doors as well.
On Sunday a bill was approved that would move Illinois' medical marijuana program out of the pilot phase. It would also expand the number of conditions eligible for treatment with medical marijuana.
With this in mind, it's important that business owners start getting ready now for the increased customer base. With any luck there'll be lots of cannabis to go around come January 1, and there won't be shortages like what's been seen in Canada.