Believe it or not, Illinois is where you’ll want to be this New Year’s Eve. Once the ball drops, dispensaries in the state will open their doors and begin legally selling recreational marijuana.
The controversial herb was legalized for recreational use mid-2019. When Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the bill into law, Illinois became the 11th state to legalize the sale and use of recreational marijuana for adults aged 21 and over. Most importantly, criminal records for pot crimes in the state were expunged.
In less than one month, locals and tourists will be able to purchase herb in topical, sublingual, flower, and edible form. According to “cannabis czar” Toi Hutchinsonn, the state’s 55 medical operators are the first to get recreational licenses. Many will be up and running as dual purpose operators on January 1, 2020.
“The first ones that we will be operating will be the existing medical operators that will already be servicing patients,” Hutchinson explained.
The only difference between medical and recreational dispensaries will be the level of security. Medical patients will have to pass through several locked doors before entering the sales room.
Similar to other states where pot is legal to purchase (Colorado, Washington, Las Vegas, etc…), all customers will be required to enter through the front door with a state ID to prove they are 21 or older. They will then be allowed to enter into the sales room.
“We do have monitors here so you can scroll our live menu on what we have in stock, you can also work with a wellness adviser to go over different options,” said Gabriel Vale.
Because there are hundreds of terpenes and thousands of cannabinoids, numerous products will be available to help with a variety of ailments. From improving sleep to promoting relaxation to inspiring energy, locals and visitors and Illinois should have no problem finding medicine.
Because the cannabis industry is a cash business, dispensaries will have an ATM inside the store or nearby. “They’ll be no consumption inside the dispensaries. Everything is prepackaged. We don’t even touch the product,” Vale said.
If sales skyrocket after the new year, medical marijuana customers will have priority. Regardless of sales, medical patients will also be taxed differently. For instance, if a consumer with a medical card purchases $50 of flower and a $50 edible product, they will spend $104.75, which includes state and local tax. Recreational users, on the other hand, will pay an extra 45% in taxes. A non-medical patient would spend a total of $132.50 for the same order.
Once marijuana is legal for recreational use, residents still won’t be able to consume in public places. “There is no public consumption, you cannot drive with this anymore than you could with alcohol, you can’t show up for work inebriated, you can’t show up high,” Hutchinson said.
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Inage Credit: Dmitry Tishchenko