- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 7, 2020

High demand for marijuana has caused several dispensaries in Illinois to suspend recreational sales now that it’s the latest state to legalize non-medical cannabis.

Illinois legalized recreational marijuana last Wednesday, Jan. 1, and a number of pot shops licensed by the state have already had to pause sales due to high demand.

Midway Dispensary in Chicago announced on Sunday that it was indefinitely suspending sales of recreational or “adult-use” marijuana until it restocks, opening its doors in the interim only to card-carrying members of the state’s separate, previously instituted medical marijuana program.

“The demand was huge,” Midway’s Neal McQueeney told the Chicago Tribune, the newspaper reported. “We knew we were going to run out. It was a matter of when, not if.”

Cresco Labs said it was temporarily closing its chain of Sunnyside dispensaries in Illinois to give employees a break from a long first few days of retail sales.

“There are no product supply shortages,” Cresko’s Jason Erkes told the Chicago Sun-Times, according to the newspaper. “Just a shortage of state-approved employees to help efficiently service the hundreds of people that have been showing up every day to make their first legal cannabis purchase in Illinois.”

Licensed marijuana dispensaries in Illinois completed more than 271,000 transactions totaling over $10.8 million in sales between Wednesday and Sunday, the state announced Monday.

Half of the licensed dispensaries in Chicago, the state’s largest city, were sold-out of recreational marijuana as of Monday, the local CBS station reported.

Marijuana is prohibited under federal law, though most states have passed laws allowing it to be used for medicinal or recreational purposes.

Only nine states allow licensed dispensaries to sell recreational marijuana to adults: Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon and Washington state.

Federal law prohibits marijuana from being transported across state lines, however, so dispensaries suffering from shortages are barred from obtaining surpluses from other states.

Cannabis industry experts at the Brightfield Group have previously predicted that customers will spend $420 million at Illinois marijuana dispensaries during 2020.

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