QUINCY — More than a month after dispensaries began selling cannabis for recreational use to adults in Illinois, industry officials say the rollout has been generally smooth with one key exception.
One of the biggest issues is that the supply of cannabis flower remains tight across the state, pushing many marijuana retailers, including one of Quincy's two dispensaries, to ration amounts sold.
Derrick Levy, district manager of Green Thumb Industries, the parent company of Rise Quincy, at 2703 Broadway, said, "Supply chain issues have impacted everyone, but overall we've experienced a smooth rollout with product remaining available for customers. Rise has done everything to make sure that at least one flower strain is available."
Attempts by The Herald-Whig to reach officials with Herbal Remedies, at 4440 Broadway, were not successful.
Earlier this month, many Chicago-based dispensaries said they would be closing their doors to recreational users because of the shortage. Industry officials say it remains unclear how long the shortage will last.
Levy said the shortage of cannabis flower has caused Rise employees to ration each customer to one eighth of of a flower. "We are doing our best to offer a robust menu of options," Levy said.
The shortage has one positive side: It has allowed Rise employees to spend more time answering customers' questions.
"We see a lot of people new to buying legal cannabis or new to cannabis overall, so a lot of education of products and options has been necessary for those new customers," Levy said. He added that Green Thumb Industries has "experienced a lot of interest at our stores" from people who live in neighboring states where there are no medical marijuana laws and people are seeking relief.
"Of course we encourage them to follow the law and not to bring the product over the border," Levy said. "Many people, though, are coming to use cannabis for certain ailments, who don't have a medical card, but they are seeking relief with cannabis. They are not looking to get high."
Levy said customers from outside Quincy have come from Missouri, Iowa and faraway states such as Texas. Per state regulations, Rise employees view and enter details from a customer's photo identification card into a temporary database.
"We are seeing a lot of visitors based on word of mouth," Levy said.
While some dispensaries in the state, including in Springfield, are now pushing their municipalities to rewrite ordinances to allow on-site consumption, Levy said Rise Quincy has no plans to lobby for such a change.
"We are currently focused on offering the best customer service possible at each of our stores," he said. "We don't have immediate plans on pursuing consumption lounges at our stores.
Green Thumb and Rise have dispensaries in Joliet, Naperville, Canton, Mundelein and Effingham. The company also has locations in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.