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Illinois cannabis dispensaries open New Year’s Day for adult-use sales

December 16, 2019
illinois dispensaries open legalization
(Mlenny/iStock)

Freedom rings in the New Year, as tens of thousands of cannabis fans in the Land of Lincoln are expected to brave freezing pre-dawn temperatures in Chicago and across Illinois to smoke a piece of state history.

On Jan. 1, 2020, as early as 6 a.m. Central Standard Time, the doors open on a new era for cannabis, as the Prairie State initiates commercial sales to all adults over 21 and older with valid ID.

'It’s going to be New Year’s Day to remember, that’s for sure.'
Edie Moore, Executive Director, Chicago NORML

The United States’ 11th legalization state is also the first to regulate retail sales through a legislative process. That makes this rollout among America’s most fully baked, since it relies on the existing medical cannabis system to serve adult-use customers swiftly and reliably.

Here’s what Illinois’ roughly one million cannabis consumers—and millions more visitors—need to know.

Where to buy: Illinois dispensaries open New Year’s Day

Thirty stores have state licenses to start adult-use sales on Jan. 1, 2020, and 27 are ready to go with local approval on opening day. They are:

The Clinic Mundelein1325 Armour Boulevard Mundelein, Illinois 60060 (847) 616-8966
3C Compassionate Care Center – Joliet1627 Rock Creek Blvd. Joliet, IL 60431 (815) 773-9300
3C Compassionate Care Center – Naperville1700 Quincy Ave. #103 Naperville, IL 60540 (630) 369-4000
The Clinic Effingham1101 Ford Ave. Ste. C Effingham, IL 62401
Salveo Health & Wellness Dispensary3104 N. Main Street Canton, Illinois 61520
Sunnyside1704 S Neil St. C Champaign, IL 61820 (217) 441-2076
Sunnyside2696 McFarland Rd Rockford, IL 61107 (815) 314-1900
Sunnyside3812 N Clark St. Chicago, IL 60613 (773) 698-8182
Sunnyside1623 Barclay Blvd, Buffalo Grove, IL 60089(224) 377-9734
Sunnyside7955 W. Grand Ave. Elmwood Park, IL 60707 (708) 452-7688
Mapleglen Care Center4777 Stenstrom Rd. Rockford, IL 61109 (779) 368-5154
Dispensary335001 N. Clark St. Chicago, IL 60640 (312) 620-3333
Maribis of Springfield2272 North Grand Ave. East Grandview, IL 62702 (217)-503-4296
Maribis of Chicago4570 S. Archer Ave. Chicago, IL 60632 (888) 888-5501
Verilife161 S. Lincolnway Ste 301 North Aurora, IL 60542 (630) 264-0890
Verilife4104 Columbus St. Ottawa, IL 61350 (815) 234-9189
Verilife1335 Lakeside Dr. Unit 4 Romeoville, IL 60446 (630) 359-3213
MedMen (formerly Verilife)1804 Maple Ave. Evanston, IL 60201 (847) 424-0140
MOCA Modern Cannabis2847 W. Fullerton Ave. Chicago, IL 60647 (773) 722-6622
Harbory8195 Express Dr. Marion, IL 62959 (618) 969-8217
Columbia Care4758 N. Milwaukee Ave. Chicago, IL 60630 312-948-9082
HCI Alternatives1014 Eastport Plaza Dr. Collinsville, IL 62234 618-381-9229
HCI Alternatives628 E. Adams St. Springfield, IL 62701 217-679-3283
Mission Illinois8554 S. Commercial Ave. Chicago, IL 60617 833-768-4357
Nature’s Treatment973 Tech Dr. Milan, IL 61264 309-283-1642
Herbal Remedies Dispensary44440 Broadway St. Ste. 1 Quincy, IL 62305 217-214-6337
EarthMed852 S. Westgate St. Addison, IL 60101 630-607-0796
The Herbal Care Center1301 S. Western Ave. Chicago, 60608 773-724-4200
Midway Dispensary5648 S. Archer Ave. Chicago, IL 60638 (872)-267-7038
MedMen (formerly Seven Point)1132 Lake St. Oak Park, IL 60301 (424) 330-2194
Zen Leaf Chicago6428 N. Milwaukee Ave. Chicago, IL 60631 (872) 304-3113
NuMed Chicago1308 W. North Ave. Chicago, IL 60642 (773) 687-8480
NuMed East Peoria504 Riverside Dr. East Peoria, IL 61611 (309) 839-1330
NuMed Urbana105 E. University Ave. Urbana, IL 61801 (217) 607-2867

Looking for legal cannabis in Illinois? Leafly has all your local menus.

Illinois recreational cannabis prices

On day one, expect long lines for top-shelf prices, due to high demand and limited initial supplies; like a new iPhone launch.

Eighth-ounces of dried cured flower buds will go for $50-$60 plus tax, operators report. Think of it more as a novelty purchase than a trip to Costco. Rest assured, those prices will eventually come down. Every legal state opened with high prices that settled to find a more reasonable market level within a few months.

Wherever prices wind up, analysts predict that Illinois’ legal market might one eventually total $2 billion per year.

Illinois cannabis taxes

Taxes total an average of about 30% and go higher for higher-THC products. All adult-use products are subject to the state’s 6.75% sales tax. On top of that, expect:

  • 10% cannabis purchaser tax for products that consist of up to 35% THC
  • 20% purchaser tax on edibles that are more than 35% THC
  • 25% purchaser tax on extracts more than than 35% THC
  • local city taxes up to 3%; or local county taxes up to 3.75%

Illinois recreational cannabis products, supplies

This advanced medical cannabis market will have all your typical licensed and tested adult-use cannabis products, including flower, edibles, extracts, vape pens, topicals, and tinctures. But there are fewer than 20 farms in the state, controlled by 15 companies.

“We’ll have the full range of products on day one,” said Kris Krane, operator of Mission Illinois—the only adult-use dispensary expected to be open on day one in Chicago’s south side. “It won’t be what you would find in California or Colorado, but we have a very good variety, particularly for Illinois.”

Supplies are sure to dip in the New Year before surging. Illinois has an estimated 956,640 cannabis consumers, but most won’t enter the legal market immediately.

Krane also says that day one shoppers should expect to encounter purchase limits lower than the state’s official one-ounce-per-day legal limit. Stores will likely be limiting how much cannabis consumers can purchase to ensure they can serve the most customers from their current limited supply.

“We want to make sure we don’t have to close on day one,” he said. “There are major supply constraints in Illinois right now.”

Based on past state launches, many stores could see more than 1,000 shoppers on day one. Those 27 open stores could see an average of about a $100 sale per customer, so the industry could gross about $2.7 million on day one, with roughly $675,000 in taxes; enough for about 16 annual teacher salaries in Illinois.

Illinois marijuana laws

In many ways, Illinois has set the template for the legalization bills coming to future states in the Midwest and East Coast.

illinois dispensaries - laws legalization

  • Adults 21+ can buy, transport, store, and use personal amounts of cannabis and pipes
  • No underage sales, gifts, possession, or use
  • Possession limits are 30 grams of flower, 5 grams of extracts, and edibles with a total of up to 500 mg THC. Non-Illinois residents can have half those amounts

But with freedom comes responsibility.

  • Driving or boating high remains illegal
  • Home cultivation (without a medical marijuana card) remains illegal and carries a $200 fine
  • Possessing 100 grams or more is still a felony
  • Unlicensed sales of 10 grams or more is a felony
  • And Illinois mandates a six-year minimum prison sentence for selling or transporting 10 pounds of marijuana; a so-called “Class X” felony.

In 2016, Illinois police made 32,773 marijuana arrests, 42% of all drug offense arrests. Those arrest numbers should drop, but both police and citizens must adapt.

Can tourists buy marijuana?

Tourists from other states can go to, purchase at, and take cannabis from Illinois dispensaries.

Visitors can legally possess half the amount a resident can: 15 grams of flower, 2.5 grams of extract, and edibles totaling up to 250 mg THC. That works out to about a two-week supply for a daily smoker.

In 2017, Illinois had 114 million visitors, about 10% of which are past-month or past-year cannabis users. This makes tourism a major part of Illinois’ estimated $2 billion mature cannabis market.

Taking marijuana out of Illinois?

Don’t do it. Law enforcement officials in neighboring states have promised to enforce local state law, even on Illinois residents merely cutting through a neighboring state while holding cannabis. Police also remain on high holiday season alert for signs of intoxicated driving.

Stigma remains

You can still lose your job, your home, or your access to education for cannabis use. The fight’s not over.

Illinois law allows employers to use unscientific drug testing to discriminate against responsible cannabis users. Restrictions on cannabis use apply in public housing and condos. “We need to address all those issues and more in the coming year,” said Chicago NORML Executive Director Edie Moore.

Of course, you can’t use cannabis in public, and that includes a bus, train, school, restaurant, bar, or park—any public place, including your front porch. Back porches are OK. Licensed lounges became legal in December, but won’t open until later in 2020.

“It’s not something new. People are consuming already. But we really need folks to understand that you can’t just be in the park lighting up a doobie. It’s still illegal to do that,” said Moore.

Illinois medical cannabis

Illinois has 87,000 qualified medical cannabis patients and 55 licensed dispensaries.

Thirty of those licensees can sell adult-use marijuana.

Regulations require medical stores to set aside adequate supplies for patients. However, Illinois medical cannabis patient rolls doubled in 2019 and supplies have not fully kept pace, meaning that patients are already reporting shortages of particular products.

Due to ongoing shortages, Krane expects some dispensaries that are licensed to sell adult-use cannabis will only offer medical supplies in early 2020—at least until production catches up.

Illinois has fewer than 20 licensed farms and is rapidly adding new ones to meet an estimated 714,161-pound annual demand for cannabis when the market is mature.

“It’s going to take two years to really fully scale up to meet demand,” said Krane.

Illinois social equity provisions

The Land of Lincoln stands on the shoulders of past legalization efforts with the strongest-ever rules to ensure drug war victims profit from the peace, said Moore, for Chicago NORML. “That was our legislative intent from the very beginning,” she said.

Existing medical dispensary owners made unprecedented payments into an equity fund in order to begin serving adult-use customers Jan. 1. That fund supports low-income, minority business loans to applicants currently applying for earmarked licenses. The legal industry is also anticipated to create tens of thousands of jobs across the state.

Any fun activities planned?

Leafly is tracking underground parties the day and night before. On the morning of January 1, a few dispensaries will open at 6 a.m., and most will open by 9 a.m., with many offering  some amount of specials plus food, drinks, and music. For example, Dispensary 33 will use a paging system, “similar to a busy restaurant,” said Abigail Watkins for Dispensary 33. “Neighboring bars and restaurants will be open with brunch specials, coffee, etc. so folks can wait inside local businesses instead of forming a line in the cold.”

The operators of Sunnyside dispensary—near Wrigley Field (currently called MedMar)—also plan to fete customers. They’ve taken over a neighboring coffee shop to keep folks out of the cold while their staff prepares orders.

 

Got Illinois recreational cannabis questions? Ask Leafly in the comments below!

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David Downs

David Downs directs news and lifestyle coverage as the California Bureau Chief for Leafly.com. He's written for WIRED, Rolling Stone and Billboard, and is the former cannabis editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, as well as the author of several cannabis books including 'Marijuana Harvest' by Ed Rosenthal and David Downs. He co-hosts The Hash podcast. TW: @davidrdowns | IG @daviddowns

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  • Nick Czurylo

    Info is wrong on the site. A handful of those dispensaries are NOT selling for recreational due to the cities they are in voted against it.

    • Kelvin McCabe

      Additionally, IL is not rapidly adding production. We are not doing licensing for new growers til this summer for craft grows (limited in size compared to the existing cultivators) who likely won’t be operation til 2021. The existing ones all are expanding since IL handed them an oligopoly on the market. There are not even close to enough dispensaries to handle this market nor enough producers. Its going to be rough riding for a long time I am afraid.