Illinois' first week of recreational marijuana sales appears to be going so well that dispensaries have actually run out of product.
Illinois passed legislation last summer to become the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana. The legislation not only allows adults to possess up to 30 grams of recreational marijuana but sets itself apart from other legalization efforts by including language that would grant clemency to those convicted of low-level marijuana offenses.
The legislation took effect on January 1.
With about 40 dispensaries licensed, many people celebrated the beginning of legal weed in the state on the first day of the new year. Even Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton posed for a picture at a dispensary after purchasing edibles.
Legal marijuana sales brought out thousands to make their first legal pot purchase - including Illinois Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton. She got into the spirit of the historic day by making her own pot purchase, in the form of edibles. #IllinoisCannabis https://t.co/dsajQJaJRc pic.twitter.com/CMERtD0t9b
— CBS Chicago (@cbschicago) January 1, 2020
By the end of the first day, dispensaries had made $3.2 million in sales. By the end of the first week, the figure was almost $11 million.
A handful of dispensaries have had to temporarily shut down operations since demand was so high. Some dispensaries have turned to creating limits on how much product a single customer can buy and shortening hours to help mitigate the shortages until new shipments arrive. Business owners note that the most popular product has been flower, the dry bud that is smokeable via pipe, bong, or similar apparatus.
The day before legalization went into effect, Governor J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, issued 11,017 pardons for low-level marijuana offenses. The pardons were then forwarded to the state attorney general's office for expungement. An estimated 700,000 records are eligible for a pardon or record expungement under the new law.