Despite persistent product shortages, the Prairie State saw an immediate influx of cannabis business from local residents and thousands of out-of-state visitors.
It’s been one month since Illinois pot shops opened their door to adult-use customers, and the US’ latest legal cannabis market is already raking in cash hand over fist.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the first set of official statistics from the Prairie State’s legal weed program showed $39 million in total sales through the month of January. And because Illinois is such a central hub, and is surrounded by a number of states still practicing prohibition, it wasn’t just local medical patients and experimenting adults buying up the supply. In fact, only $30 million of the Illinois’ first month pot sales went to in-state residents, with nearly $10 million going to out-of-state tourists.
“Illinois has a really strong advantage, being in the middle of prohibition territory,” Bethany Gomez, managing director of cannabis research firm Brightfield Group, told the Tribune.
But even in the face of constant dispensary lines and highly taxed, high-priced pot, dispensaries across Illinois spent the month of January struggling to keep product on shelves amidst an immediate supply shortage. At times, the gap between stock and demand has widened so large that a number of pot shops in the Chicago area shut their doors to adult-use customers for days at a time.
“There’s a lot more consumer demand that’s not being met just because of those supply shortages,” Gomez said. “Once supply and demand issues can start to be worked out, we can see much greater growth.”
Over the course of the year, Illinois’ legal cannabis operators expect a number of new growers, processors, and dispensaries to come on-line and help alleviate the constant product shortages. In the meantime, though, Illinois is already going to pot, with legalization quickly turning the tide for many anti-cannabis sticklers and bringing millions of dollars in prosperity and tax cash to the Midwest hub.
“It really feels like it has normalized quite a bit,” Kris Krane, president and co-founder of 4Front Ventures, which owns Illinois’ Mission South Shore dispensary, told the Tribune. “I would expect that at this point, this is just kind of the new normal.”
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