Dispensaries working for months to prepare for flood of marijuana customers

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CHICAGO — In the new year when recreational marijuana becomes legal in Illinois, demand to get high is expected to be high.

Dispensaries around the area have been working around the clock to get ready.

We know the sharp increase in demand for day and thereafter is going to be quite a bear to handle,” General Manager Paul Lee said of Dispensary 33 in Andersonville. “So we’re doing a lot to prepare.”

To meet demand, Lee said he plans to open up at 6 a.m. on New Year’s Day.

NuMed in Bucktown plans to open up at 8 a.m. on Jan. 1.

“Expect on January 1, it is going to be very busy,” General Manager Jim Johnson said. “We are taking precautions to expect that people won’t be stuck waiting out in the cold. We’re getting ready for it.”

As the recreational industry grows, there is a concern among medical marijuana patients.

The state’s medical program has grown to 95,000 patients. To keep up, Illinois just licensed two new cultivation centers.

Some wonder if it will be enough.

“We’re not worried. We have been preparing for this for the past few months so we do have a very nice supply,” Johnson said.

Lee said while some certain products will be very popular, the variety dispensaries provide should be able to give users many options.

Because of the increase in demand of course there’s probably going to be product shortages on certain products. One that will just be super high in demand such as flower, joints,”Lee said. “However, there are lots of other products in the shop.”

Across the country, states that have legalized have faced shortages.

Illinois officials plan to monitor supply keeping a tab on dispensaries and cultivators.

Governor Pritzker’s spokeswoman released the following statement:

“Illinois is the only state in the country to write protections for medical cannabis patients into the law and the Pritzker administration is working to ensure supply is protected for patients who rely on it.”

State officials will carefully monitor supply after they see what recreational demand looks like.

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