After only one week of legalizing cannabis for adult use, many dispensaries in the Chicago area have already run out of product. The problem likely isn’t going away any time soon either, as it is believed that dispensaries could face shortages for months, according to a story from CBS Chicago.
Dispensary owners aren’t surprised by the shortages, according to Jeremy Unruh of PharmaCann, an Illinois business that grows and sells cannabis.
“It’s not a surprise. We knew that demand would probably exceed our capacity to comfortably serve that demand,” Unruh said.
The recreational cannabis law was signed in June of 2019, but it took about 6 months for the state to approve grow houses and other processing facilities.
“Then it takes six months for the build out to occur. And once the build out occurs, it takes about three months to grow and harvest and process those plants,” Unruh said.
Cannabis business owners in the state of Illinois, like Unruh, are confident that this issue will get corrected moving forward, and that this is just a minor hiccup getting started.
“It’s not what happens on day one, or day two or day three. It’s what happens at month six. It’s what happens at month 12, at month 18, at month 24. That’s the roll out of this program. It’s intended to be rolled out over years, not days,” said Unruh.
Illinois is certainly not the first state to have a lack of cannabis products for sale at the start of their legalization program. When medical cannabis was made legal in Pennsylvania in early 2018, there was a massive shortage of product for sale before the program finally got rolling. Dispensaries obviously have an incentive to provide their customers with product, so this issue will likely be corrected swiftly. In addition to making recreational cannabis legal, the state of Illinois also pardoned thousands of people who had cannabis convictions on their records. Arrests made for cannabis possession can linger for a lifetime, so it’s great to see that these records are being expunged. Hopefully, more states do the same thing as Illinois as they usher in their own legalization programs.