Travel Brokers AS April 1-30 2019

The first weeks of adult-use cannabis sales in Illinois were busy ones for the state’s dispensaries, and Homewood’s Windy City Cannabis was no exception. 

More than two hours before the doors opened on New Year’s Day, a line of more than 50 people waited outside the building. According to social media reports and video, the line later stretched around the parking lot.

A crowd of at least 50 people waits in line about 2 1/2 hours before Windy City Cannabis in Homewood was scheduled to open to begin recreational cannabis sales on New Year's Day. (Chronicle file photo)
A crowd of at least 50 people waits in line about 2 1/2 hours before Windy City Cannabis in Homewood was scheduled to open to begin recreational cannabis sales on New Year’s Day. (Chronicle file photo) 

WCC founder Steve Weisman said the dispensary at 1137 175th St. served just under 2,000 customers on the first day.

“It’s an incredibly exciting time for the state of Illinois, and with the passing of adult-use cannabis, we’re seeing decades of pent up demand activating all at once,” Weisman said.  “This will work itself out in time, as demand spreads out more evenly.”

The big demand has meant a strain on cannabis supplies. Weisman said dispensary operators expected that to happen immediately after legalization of recreational cannabis went into effect.

Weisman said the dispensary’s medical cannabis customers were taken care of in spite of the challenge of meeting demand for new customers.

“We maintain a dedicated supply of product that is specifically for medical patients,” he said.

Customers are still getting used to the new law, which still provides controls on who can purchase and consume cannabis, where it can be consumed and in what quantities. 

Weisman reminded potential customers that they need to be 21 to purchase and present a valid, unexpired, government issued ID. 

“Windy City Cannabis is proud to be involved in such a monumental moment in history,” he said. “The launch of adult-use cannabis in Illinois has been extremely exciting, which can be seen by the number of customers who have visited our dispensaries.”

Statewide, the results were similar to Windy City’s experience.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office announced that dispensaries sold more than $19 million worth of cannabis through nearly a half million transactions in the first 12 days of sales.

Jan. 1 was the busiest day, with $3.1 million in sales. Jan. 12 was the first day with less than $1 million in sales. Sales dropped to a little more than $874,000.

As part of the state’s focus on equity, 25 percent of cannabis sales tax revenues will support the Restore, Reinvest and Renew (R3) program, which aims to address the impact of economic disinvestment, violence and the historical overuse of the criminal justice system, according to a news release from Pritzker’s office. 

The Department of Revenue expects to have a tax revenue estimate by the end of February, when initial tax payments from dispensaries are due.

“This is about more than money,” said Toi Hutchinson, senior advisor to Pritzker for cannabis control and former 40th District senator. “It’s about starting a new industry in a way that includes communities left behind for far too long. I thank all those who worked hard to make the launch a success.”

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