At least six Chicago dispensaries are closed to recreational marijuana customers Monday as many retailers grapple with supply issues in the wake of legalization. […]
Jason Erkes, a spokesman for Cresco Labs, said four of the company’s newly rebranded Sunnyside Dispensaries will be closed Monday “to reset and give the staff that has worked five 14-hour days straight a break.” That includes locations in Lake View, Elmwood Park, Rockford and Champaign.
However, Erkes said, the shops will have flower, vapes, concentrates and edibles available when the shops reopen Tuesday.
“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 purchase in Illinois,” Erkes said.
The reason that company doesn’t have a shortage problem is because it owns three cultivation facilities. It’s vertically integrated. Allowing this practice is one of the things I really did not like about the new law. We should have a three-tiered system (producers, distributors, retailers) like we have with alcohol to help avoid these sorts of hoarding issues.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s plan to create licensed places for on-site consumption of recreational marijuana in Chicago ran into a buzz-kill of opposition Monday by black and Hispanic aldermen concerned it will pave the way for a new wave of drug arrests.
“Our concern, as aldermen who represent the South and West Sides, is that it’s not gonna work and there’s gonna be illegal dens of people smoking the stuff,” Ald. Howard Brookins (21st) told the Chicago Sun-Times after a closed-door briefing on the mayor’s ordinance.
“There’s no stand-alone or free-standing smoke shops within the communities we’re talking about. And if you were able to find a cigar bar or lounge, the two customers just don’t mix.”
Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th), former chairman of the City Council’s Black Caucus, agreed with his fellow cigar-smoker that Lightfoot’s plan to limit consumption-on-premises licenses to retail tobacco stores that derive 80% of their revenue from the sale of tobacco-related products is ill-conceived because “most cigar smokers don’t want to be in the same space as weed smokers” and vice-versa.
1) Um, expanding the available venues to consume will help cut down on “illegal dens of people smoking the stuff.”
2) Maybe some smoke shops would open if they could also sell a bit of cannabis (and I found a few venues on the South Side with a Google search for “cigar lounge” and “hookah bar”).
3) The two types of customers don’t have to mix, they can be put in separate rooms.
4) Two cigar-smoking aldermen oppose allowing cannabis to be consumed in cigar lounges? Hmm.
With local media so excited, I probably shouldn’t point out that Mexican drug cartels will undercut the government and flood the street with cheaper stuff.
And the cartels, which don’t charge taxes, will compete with Pritzker.
Drug dealers will make a killing. More bullets will fly. More teenage street gang members will hit the ground. But forget what I said. I’d rather not harsh your mellow.
Yes, because legalization will mean lots more illegal weed is sold. Right. Great logic there.
…Adding… From comments…
As Kass probably already knows, it was the repeal of the 18th Amendment that really gave rise to the moonshiners.
Also, weed from Mexico is just generic stuff. It’s not anything close to the choices one can find at a legal retail outlet (once the supply issue is solved).
* Part of that column included a complaint about this Tribune story by Josh Noel…
Not long ago, there was nothing complicated about using marijuana.
We simply “smoked weed.” We “got high.”
The great majority of us barely knew a thing more about what we were doing.
We had a dealer — or knew someone who did — and smoked whatever marijuana was handed to us in a small plastic baggie. Sometimes things went phenomenally well (seeing “Magnolia” on the big screen). Sometimes they didn’t (questioning your entire existence as the world jerked into hyper awareness). Either way, that pint of ice cream probably tasted delicious.
But as Illinois will discover now that recreational marijuana sales have begun, there’s no longer such a thing as simply “getting high” — because there’s hardly just one sort of high anymore.
The birth of a legal cannabis industry has led to far more product variety and consumer knowledge, which in turn has led to far more nuanced experiences than the days of being beholden to a dealer — or whoever happened to be standing next to you at a Phish show.
* You’ve probably seen the taxes on cannabis sales receipts posted on social media accounts. Illinois has a sliding excise tax, so those huge tax bills meant they were buying the strongest stuff. Here are the excise tax rates, which are kinda like alcohol and tobacco excise taxes…
10% — cannabis with a THC level at or below 35%
20% — all cannabis infused products
25% — cannabis with a THC level above 35%
After costs, 35 percent of that tax money will go to GRF, 10 percent goes to the Budget Stabilization Fund and 8 percent goes to the Local Government Distributive Fund. The rest goes for various programs. More info here.
And then there’s the 6.25 percent state sales tax plus any local taxes.
* Press release…
The Illinois Department of Federal and Professional Regulation has announced that statewide adult-use cannabis sales from Wednesday, January 1 through Sunday, January 5 totaled $10,830,667.91. Dispensaries across the state rendered 271,169 transactions over the five-day period.
Jan. 1 $3,176,256.71 [sales], 77,128 [transactions]
Jan. 2 $2,252,586.51, 56,762
Jan. 3 $2,209,065.01, 55,161
Jan. 4 $2,004,019.43, 51,174
Jan. 5 $1,189,252.18, 30,954
TOTAL $10,830,667.91, 271,169
As part of the state’s focus on equity, 25 percent of cannabis sales tax revenues will support the Restore, Reinvest and Renew (R3) program, which aims to address the impact of economic disinvestment, violence and the historical overuse of the criminal justice system. The Department of Revenue expects to have a tax revenue estimate by the end of February, when initial tax payments from dispensaries are due.
“The successful launch of this new industry is a historic development for our state that will benefit the very communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the failed war on drugs,” said Toi Hutchinson, Senior Advisor to the Governor for Cannabis Control. “As we move into the next phase, the Pritzker administration is proud to see the robust interest in dispensary ownership from social equity applicants, and we encourage them to apply for $30 million in loans that we have available to reduce the capital barriers to entry. Unlike any state in the nation, Illinois has set the standard for what it means to legalize cannabis in a way that begins to right the wrongs of the past and gives new opportunity to those that have been left behind for far too long.”
On Thursday, January 2, the Department concluded the first round of applications for new dispensary licenses. A preliminary count shows that more than 700 applicants submitted applications seeking almost 4,000 licenses. More than 600 of the applicants identified themselves as qualifying for social equity applicant status. The Department will award up to 75 new dispensary licenses, which will be announced by May 1, 2020.
The application process provides several avenues for social equity applicants that are unique in the nation. Of the total points possibly awarded during application scoring, 20 percent are designated for social equity applicants, who also receive a 50 percent waiver for non-refundable application and license fees.
To defray the start-up costs associated with entering the industry, social equity applicants have access to a low-cost loan fund, primarily funded by existing dispensaries, and are allowed 180 days from the license award date to identify a physical location for the dispensary. Ownership limitations are also in place to protect market share for new applicants. Following the awarding of the next round of dispensary licenses, the state will also conduct a disparity study to ensure the market reflects the equity goals of the historic legislation.