Medical cannabis sales should begin within a few weeks in the Chicago metro area, bringing yet another state into the MMJ fold.
Sales are expected to start “very shortly,” Joseph Wright, the director of the Illinois Medical Cannabis Program, told the Daily Herald.
The first dispensary in Illinois formally opened downstate earlier this month, in the small town of Marion, but is only offering ancillary services at this time because it doesn’t have any medical cannabis to sell yet.
To date, the state has given final approval to only four dispensaries to begin selling MMJ once they receive inventory, the Herald reported. But that number should jump to between 12 and 15 by the end of next month, Wright said. And eight or nine will be in the Chicago metro area.
Given that the state legislature approved MMJ in 2013, Illinois will be halfway through its four-year pilot program before sales even begin. That means unless Gov. Bruce Rauner agrees to reauthorize the system in 2017, it will expire and the Illinois program will blink out of existence.
There are also questions over how viable the system is, as only about 3,100 patients have registered so far. Rauner’s administration has resisted attempts to expand the list of qualifying conditions, which could have increased the customer base, but another attempt is underway.