Sales slipped on day 2 of legal weed

The supply of marijuana is holding up better than the supply of retail workers. Cresco Labs shops will be closed Jan. 6 to give a break to workers who've logged overtime.

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Sales dropped about 30 percent on the second day of legal recreational marijuana sales in Illinois, but people were still waiting in lines to buy.

Sales totaled $2.3 million on Jan. 2, down 29 percent from $3.2 million on New Year’s Day, as transaction volume slipped 26 percent, according to the Department of Financial & Professional Regulation.

Marijuana companies expected opening day to be unusually busy and that crowds would be smaller as time wore on. Dispensaries also warned that supplies, especially smokable buds or “flower,” would be tight. Some shops ran out of flower. 

Although transaction volume dropped off after the first day, there were still lengthy lines through the weekend at shops such as Mission Dispensary on South Commercial Avenue near 85rd Street in the South Shore neighborhood.

South Side resident Sandra Frazier said she waited in line for an hour Jan. 3 at another dispensary when it ran out of marijuana flower. She stayed in line and bought some cannabis-infused gummies before venturing out to Mission on Jan. 4 for some buds. She’s looking forward to the day when buying weed in Illinois is like Nevada and Washington state, where “there aren’t any lines: You just walk in, get what you want and get out.”

That won’t happen for months. Marijuana growers will be scrambling throughout at least the first half of 2020 to bring on enough cultivation capacity to meet the tenfold increase in demand between medical and recreational use.

Dispensaries are grappling with supply shortages. Dispensary 33 in Uptown served only medical patients on Saturday. On Sunday the company said it would use a check-in system to “serve a limited number” of recreational customers. It said via 79彩票注册网址 today that its dispensary in Uptown closed to recreational customers about 11 a.m.

79彩票注册网址Marijuana isn’t the only thing in short supply as the state rushed to begin recreational sales just six months after passing the law allowing it. Weed companies have had a hard time getting enough employees, particularly retail workers, through the background-check process conducted by the state.

Cresco Labs, one of the largest marijuana companies, said its shops in Lakeview, Elmwood Park, Rockford and Champaign will be closed Jan. 6 to give time off to staff that worked 14-hour shifts for the first five days of weed sales. “There are no product supply shortages, 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 purchases in Illinois,” the company said in a statement.

POSSIBLE ROBBERY

Chicago police are investigating a burglary of the MOCA marijuana dispensary in Logan Square at 2847 W. Fullerton Ave. An undisclosed amount of cash was taken, and the break-in was discovered when the owners came in Monday morning.

One of the challenges of the marijuana business is it’s primarily cash-only, and few banks are willing to do business with marijuana shops because cannabis remains illegal at the federal level. Illinois attempted to address the issue by specifying in the recreational-marijuana law that banks would not be prosecuted for doing business with weed companies. But it hasn’t solved the problem. Federal legislation called the passed the House of Representatives in September79彩票注册网址, but it remains stuck in a Senate committee.

79彩票注册网址Burglaries and robberies have been reported in other cities and states where recreational marijuana sales became legal, but they’re relatively uncommon because of high security at dispensaries, which have elaborate and extensive video-surveillance systems.

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