Illinois extends medical marijuana sales hours amid pressure

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A green cross indicating medical marijuana is seen in the window at the Higher Path dispensary in the Sherman Oaks area of Los Angeles, California, December 27, 2017. – At the stroke of midnight on January 1, pot lovers in California may raise a joint, instead of a glass of champagne. America’s wealthiest state is legalizing the growth, sale and consumption of recreational marijuana, opening the door to the world’s biggest market. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

CHICAGO — Illinois officials are allowing medical marijuana businesses to stay open later amid complaints that users have been at a disadvantage since a new state law allowing recreational sales took effect this year.

The department also reminded retailers to prioritize medical cannabis patients during product shortages in a separate statement released last week.

Problems due to limited supply have been widespread, leading some dispensaries to limit the amount of product people can purchase and to cut back on their business hours. The law broadly permitting adults to purchase and use marijuana products took effect Jan. 1.

The statement said dispensaries can’t designate products only for recreational customers to purchase. It also said retailers limiting the amount of marijuana that customers can purchase should use higher caps for medical marijuana customers than for recreational.

Illinois previously cut off sales of medical marijuana at 8 p.m., while other sales were allowed until 10 p.m. Medical sales can now continue until 10 p.m., the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation said Friday.

“Our department will continue working to ensure patients receive the level of service they have come to expect from our medical cannabis program,” Secretary Deborah Hagan said.

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