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Many Chicago pot shops will be closed to recreational customers Monday

At least 5 Chicago dispensaries won’t be selling pot to recreational users Monday as supply issues stall the first week of sales.

At least five Chicago dispensaries will be closed to recreational marijuana customers Monday as many retailers grapple with supply issues in the wake of legalization.

There are already limited places to purchase recreational marijuana in Chicago, as only 10 of the city’s 11 pot shops have earned licenses to sell both medical and recreational pot. On top of that, one of those stores, Maribis of Chicago in Brighton Park, opted to keep its doors closed until February due to concerns over supply.

Three of the stores that won’t be selling recreational pot Monday — MOCA in Logan Square, NuMed in West Town and Zen Leaf in Norwood Park — said they were either sold out of product or had limited supply.

Danny Marks, MOCA’s owner, said the shop plans to maintain its dedication to its medical patients but acknowledged that there are supply concerns.

“It’s a lot happening all at once in the first few days,” Marks noted.

The shop, which was also closed to recreational users Sunday, will begin selling to them again Tuesday.

While NuMed is closed on Mondays to both recreational and medical pot buyers, the store is currently “sold out of recreational cannabis,” according to a message being relayed to folks calling the dispensary. It’s unclear how long supply issues will keep that store and Zen Leaf from selling recreational weed.

An employee at Midway Dispensary in Vittum Park confirmed that the store wouldn’t be serving recreational pot products until Thursday but wouldn’t say why.

Jason Erkes, a spokesman for Cresco Labs, said four of the company’s newly rebranded Sunnyside Dispensaries will be closed Monday “to reset and give the staff that has worked five 14-hour days straight a break.” That includes locations in Lake View, Elmwood Park, Rockford, and Champaign.

However, Erkes said, the shops will have flower, vapes, concentrates and edibles available when the shops reopen Tuesday.

“There are no product supply shortages — just a shortage of state-approved employees to help efficiently service the hundreds of people that have been showing up every day to make their first legal cannabis purchase in Illinois,” Erkes said.

That statement runs counter to what many shoppers have reported after their first visits to Illinois’ legal dispensaries, some of which have set limits on purchases and stopped selling flowers to recreational customers as they look to keep a state-mandated stash set aside for existing medical patients.

After getting product deliveries over the weekend, Dispensary 33 in Uptown will be serving a limited number of recreational customers in the coming days, according to spokeswoman Abigail Watkins on Sunday evening. Prospective shoppers can start checking in when the store opens at 9 a.m.

The amount of people that will be served on any given day will be based on the store’s inventory, Watkins added.

Mission in South Chicago will still be open at 10 a.m. on Monday. The shop, which has a $300 spending limit for recreational buyers, will likely cut off those sales by 5 p.m.

An employee at The Herbal Care Center on the Near West Side said folks are being advised to call in at 10 a.m. to check on the recreational supply.

A spokeswoman for Columbia Care in Jefferson Park couldn’t immediately be reached, but the store typically opens at 10 a.m. on Monday.

Enthusiastic pot users flooded the state’s few dozen shops licensed to sell recreational marijuana when those sales kicked off Wednesday, buying up nearly $3.2 million worth of pot products. The following day, sales topped $2.2 million. (Sales figures for Friday and Saturday weren’t immediately released to the Sun-Times.)

Industry analysts — and even pro-pot lawmakers — have warned of a shortage in Illinois.

Andy Seeger — an analyst at the Brightfield Group, a cannabis research firm based in the Loop — noted that product shortages will continue to be an issue until more cannabis is cultivated and introduced into the market. A full harvest takes around 13 to 16 weeks to grow, he said.

“Demand will continue to increase for the next year and a half, two years at least as people enter the market, get more comfortable, the stigma is removed or they sample products while out with other people,” Seeger said. “It’s going to be up to supply to really meet that.”

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