The Cannabis Bottleneck in Illinois
Features - Cover Story
Many in the industry consider Illinois’ new adult-use market a success, but frustrations linger about supply shortages and licensing delays.
Illustration by Matthew Laznicka
For all the turbulence that 2020 wrought, Illinois launched adult-use cannabis sales, and the program’s revenue more than doubled in less than a year. With the state’s adult-use program in its second year, growers and industry stakeholders are assessing how the market is shaping up.
“Overall, being that Illinois came online kind of late to the party, there might be some in the national cannabis industry that don’t necessarily think it’s super far along as far as its product availability and product quality,” Victoria Mendicino, chief of staff at vertically integrated multi-state operator (MSO) Revolution Global, said in December 2020. “But I would invite them to definitely take a closer look because there’s some really high-quality product out there.”
Conversations in Illinois revolve around how to match supply with demand, including by licensing more businesses: dispensaries, craft growers, infusers and transporters especially are needed, according to stakeholders. As one of only two states to legalize recreational cannabis sales through its state legislature, and one with an eye toward repairing the harms of the drug war, Illinois is the subject of both praise and criticism as its adult-use program matures.
Cannabis crops growing at a Cresco Labs facility Photo courtesy of Cresco Labs
Matching Supply with Demand