Thirty medical marijuana dispensaries in Illinois have secured licenses to expand into recreational cannabis sales from Jan 1., 2020.

Seven of these dispensaries awarded same-site licenses are located in Chicago and the remainder are dotted about the state. They will be the first stores to sell adult-use marijuana when it becomes legal in Illinois on Jan. 1, and the state will then issue a further 75 licenses in 2020.

Illinois became the 11th U.S. state to legalize recreational cannabis use when Gov. J.B. Pritzker delivered on a campaign promise and signed HB 1438 into law this summer. The launch is now just weeks away and it neatly coincides with the advent of legal sales in neighbouring Michigan.

Four cannabis stores generated a total of $221,000 in sales after legal sales of recreational marijuana began in the state on Sunday. A 78-year-old poet called John Sinclair became the first person in the state to make a legal marijuana purchase, 40 years after he was jailed for possessing two joints.

Consumers formed large queues outside the handful of stores that opened for business on Sunday, many of whom came from Illinois to be part of the event.

Michigan brought in $36,000 in tax revenue on the $221,000 in legal sales that took place on Sunday, and trade has remained brisk ever since then. Illinois is a larger and more populous state, so Pritzker is banking on significant revenue from marijuana tax.

He also believes it will end a war on cannabis that has has destroyed families, needlessly filled prisons with nonviolent offenders, and disproportionately penalized black and Hispanic communities.

Local reports in Michigan state that all of the operating retailers have had to turn customers away as they cannot meet huge demand for legal products. They are now imposing purchase limits as they desperately bid to build up suitable inventories to sate this surging demand.

Greenstone Provisions and Michigan Supply and Provisions in Morenci have both been compelled to limit flower sales to a total of 7 grams per shopper each day, while Arbors Wellness capped sales at an eighth per customer.

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