What Consumers Need to Know about Illinois’ Adult-Use Recreational Cannabis

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Illinois has been waiting for the green rush for a long time and they have seen it in full force. We have seen $11M in revenue produced from dispensaries selling adult-use cannabis just since January 1st.

It is incredible as we have seen the increase in medical patients in the six months leading up to legalization taking effect and a growing problem in an industry built off the hope of helping others.

From Medical To Recreational Cannabis In Illinois

In order to understand the future you have to understand the past of cannabis in Illinois.

The medical program was built and was promised to over 100,000 patients after year one. Four years into the program, Illinois only had 47,000 patients. What was the problem? The application process along with the stringent list of conditions to be approved for cannabis.

That all changed about 9 months ago with the Opiate Bill, as well as allowing provisional access with 13 new conditions added at the same time. Illinois patients went from waiting 60-90 days for a card to getting it the next day.

Illinois Cannabis Shortage In The first Week Of Adult-Use Sales

Now the patient population increased from a meager 47,000 to over 100,000 in less than five months. In the cannabis industry it is a well-known fact how long it takes to grow cannabis and this timeline threw the whole industry into a slight shortage in every product, but mainly flower products. Now Illinois is throwing adult-use consumers on top of it.

It’s interesting to watch and see the rush to the dispensaries when they are short on product. What’s going to happen when they finally become fully stocked?

This is truly just a very small preview of what the industry is going to be like in Illinois. We are going to see millionaires made and companies built and broken. It is going to be incredible to see when the competition of all the craft growers and new licenses start to get approved to alleviate this shortage.

With the shortage remedied,  consumers have to understand when and where they can even use cannabis in Illinois. It’s still a difficult gray area considering dispensaries will be serving both out-of-state and in-state customers. In-state residents are able to possess 30 grams of flower or buds, 500 milligrams of edibles, and 5 grams of concentrates. Out-of-state consumers will be allowed half those amounts.

Where To Use Cannabis In Illinois

Where can you use that cannabis you purchased in Illinois? For people visiting or on vacation in Illinois, the hotel is not a legal place to medicate.

It must be used in a private residence or privately-owned residence. You aren’t even allowed to smoke on your front porch if there is a way to be seen from the street.

Hopefully lounges will open quickly so out-of-state visitors are able to actually use the products they purchase here in Illinois.

Illinois Adult-Use Cannabis Taxes

If you live in-state, considering the taxes, if you’re planning to shop often at dispensaries why wouldn’t you just get your medical card?

With taxes at just about 36 percent, in three $100 stops at the dispensary on the adult-use side you would have paid for your yearly medical card in taxes! Also, with your medical card you get access to the full menu of products and not just the limited amounts being offered on the adult-use side through the shortages.

There is so much to look forward to with the new recreational marijuana industry in Illinois. The funds made for the state should be fantastic and should help turn things around quickly with the high tax rates and the speed with which purchases are being made.

Consumers will have to wait and see where the money goes, but I have a positive outlook for Illinois as a resident of the state.

Elana Cohen is an account manager at NisonCo Cannabis PR. She is Chicago born-and-bred and joined the NisonCo team in 2019. With extensive experience in the public relations industry, Elana has developed and executed numerous impactful corporate communication programs across a large variety of industries.