Illinois Sold $3.2 Million Worth of Weed on the First Day of Legalization
Illinois' new pot shops served more than 77,000 customers on the first day of 2020, marking one of the most successful starts in the history of American cannabis legalization.
Published on January 3, 2020

On New Year’s Day, Illinois residents flocked to newly open recreational cannabis dispensaries to celebrate the start of legal weed sales. By the end of the day, customers made 77,000 purchases and spent a whopping $3.2 million.

According to the Chicago Tribune, lines at dispensaries in Chicago, Collinsville, Springfield, and other cities stretched for blocks all day Wednesday, with some queues packed with as many as 500 cannabis buyers.

“This is particularly impressive when you consider the long waits, supply shortages, and sky-high pricing of products available at the limited number of dispensaries open,” Bethany Gomez, managing director of cannabis research firm Brightfield Group, told the Tribune.

The state’s first dispensaries opened their doors to recreational customers at 6am on Wednesday morning. Currently, lIllinois has 37 licensed cannabis dispensaries that are open for business. At some pot shops, the demand was so high that flower products sold out, leaving only edibles, vapes, and other non-smokable forms of cannabis left for purchase. 

“I’ve got really just some chocolate bars,” Gorgi Naumovski, principal officer at Thrive dispensaries in Anna and Harrisburg, IL said. “We’ve got a delivery coming in today, another one tomorrow, so we’re just going to try to see how it goes.”

In the other US states with recreational cannabis laws, first day sales have often been underwhelming due to similar supply shortages and limited dispensary locations. At the start of America’s legalization push, Washington and Colorado sold around $2 million and $5 million worth of weed, respectively, in their first week of sales. 

In Michigan, which debuted its own legal weed market last month, cannabis customers purchased $221,000 worth of weed on day one, in part because there were only three dispensaries across the state licensed for adult-use sales. Only Oregon — which also sold $3.2 million worth of weed on its first day of legal sales — has rivaled Illinois’ historic sales start.

And despite the long lines, product shortages, and some of the country’s highest pot prices, dispensaries across the state are already preparing for another rush when new deliveries arrive this week. 

“I suspect this weekend will be pretty crazy, as well,” Steve Weisman, CEO of Windy City Cannabis, told the Tribune. “Based on my experience in other states, and what I’ve seen across the country, my guess is it’ll be a little crazy for the next couple of weeks.”

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Zach Harris
Zach Harris is a writer based in Philadelphia whose work has appeared on Noisey, First We Feast, and Jenkem Magazine. You can find him on Twitter @10000youtubes complaining about NBA referees.
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