CHICAGO — Illinois marijuana dispensaries are gearing up large crowds Wednesday as the state begins to allow the sale of recreational pot.
Lakeview Sunnyside dispensary on Chicago’s north-side is one of just 37 dispensaries across the state that have received a license to sell recreational marijuana. The store anticipates record-breaking sales on Wednesday when they open their doors to a much larger customer base.
Lines were already out the door on Monday at Lakeview Sunnyside for medical marijuana customers stocking up with brown paper bags full of pot to avoid the large crowds of recreational users in just two days.
“We were just watching all the people going in and out and I think, yeah, I think it’s going to be insane,” said Tori Murphy.
Inside the shop looks similar to a pharmacy. Customers 21 and older can walk right up to the counter to choose from all kinds of marijuana. There’s flower to smoke, cartridges to vape and edibles to eat. A new experience awaits for Murphy who is visiting Chicago with friends.
“I actually live in Indiana and it’s legal in Michigan and so people drive the border just to go to Michigan for the legal weed,” she said.
Starting January 1, out-of-state residents like Murphy can purchase half the amount of Illinois residents, up to 15 grams of pot per day or 250 milligrams of THC in edibles. Cresco Labs spokesman Jason Erkes said that the amount would cost around $270.
“We would love it for people to come in knowing whether they want to buy a pre-rolled joint or a concentrate or an edible or a vape and what types of effect they’re looking for to get from the cannabis,” Erkes said.
Erkes said employees inside the dispensary have been trained to remind out-of-state residents of Illinois' new marijuana laws. Recreational pot has to be consumed inside a private residence and legal weed in Illinois becomes illegal if it’s brought to states like Wisconsin.
“We think everybody’s done a really good job about educating people what the laws are and that this is an Illinois program and people can buy it legally in Illinois and what they do with it after that, hopefully they follow whatever those local jurisdiction laws are,” he said.
Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth said those who are caught driving while high or possessing marijuana will be arrested.