Questions about marijuana rollout

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA)– In about four months, some dispensaries will be able to sell marijuana in Illinois.

Those companies have been planning for that New Year’s Day, but the question is will the state be ready?

Businesses that we be able to sell cannabis for recreational usage want to take another look at the language in the bill that determines where their new stores can set up shop.

Come January, medical marijuana dispensaries will be the first group to be able to sell recreational marijuana. While zoning may not be as much of an issue in places like Springfield that are already home to dispensaries, other cities around the state are debating whether or not to allow marijuana to be sold there.

“I think we will be ready if the cities are ready. We do have our two cites for Springfield and Collinsville area identified. We are working on those and the cities on potential ordinances and language for ordinances to be open on January 1,” said Chris Stone of HCI Alternatives.

While the dispensaries are prepared, some say the language in the 600 page bill can be interpreted loosely. For dispensaries that are looking to expand in places further away from their current store, they may run into a bit of an issue as the agency regulating licenses, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) has specific regions each dispensary must operate out of.

“I think there are some changes that probably need to be made that we did not anticipate. Both from the industry side as well as from the legislative and government regulation side. I think there is probably a high likelihood of us coming back and making some changes in November to the adult-use cannabis law,” said Stone.

Although the time frame for fixes is short, the governor is confident. “I feel good about it,” Pritzker said Thursday. The IDFPR is doing a terrific job. We have multiple agencies that are on top of this, we have a team that is focused on these rules. I think we are going to get there.”

Outside of clearing the hurdles around rules and regulations, dispensaries are also focused on making sure the hire enough new staffers and have enough oil-based products that people can enjoy now that Tobacco 21 is in effect. The law prohibits people under 21 from smoking recreational and medical marijuana but Stone says about 60 percent of clients at HCI Alternatives prefer oil-based products, concentrates and edibles over traditional flower smoking.

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