Marion dispensary sees high turnout in first month selling medical marijuana
The first month of sales figures are in for medical marijuana dispensaries in Illinois. They’ve sold 54,373 grams at the retail level since dispensaries opened up Nov. 9. That’s bringing in an estimated $57,000 in tax revenue for the state, and officials say that’s only expected to grow.
For more than a month now, the state’s medical dispensaries like Harbory in Marion have been able to legally sell medical cannabis to those with state-provided cards. And, already, sales are very high: bringing in $807,852 so far.
"It’s been exciting. It’s been a great month. We’re totally overjoyed with the turnout from patients," said Harbory Director Doug Mars.
Mars says Harbory’s first month of selling cannabis has been busy. They’re constantly using social media to help keep their customers up to date on what strains are in stock before they ever arrive at the dispensary.
"It’s been a great tool for us to say ‘Hey, here’s what we have for tomorrow,’ trying to communicate before people drive in to see us," Mars said.
Harbory is one of 15 registered dispensaries now, but there are 60 licenses available overall. Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Director Joseph Wright says 55 to 56 of those have been claimed. He says over the next three to six months, Illinois residents can expect to see dozens more dispensaries popping up around the state. And, demand for those dispensaries is expected to rise, with 3,600 card holders as of Dec. 2 and more applications coming in all the time.
"I mean, half of what we do is answer phone calls every day from people saying ‘How do I do this? What can I do?’ So our staff inside is trained on how to answer those questions, and I see the program growing a lot over the next month or so," Mars said.
Wright says just half of those people carrying cannabis cards have actually used them to buy medical cannabis. Because of that, they say they expect sales to continue to rise.
New medical conditions could soon be added to the state’s pilot program. Beginning January 1, the Illinois Department of Public Health will be taking petitions to add new, debilitating conditions to the list of those approved for medical cannabis cards.
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