A group of pro-pot state lawmakers penned a joint letter Monday acknowledging that the state’s cannabis supply could be limited when the drug is fully legalized on Jan. 1.
“Each state that has implemented an adult-use cannabis program has had issues related to supply shortages,” according to the group, made up of state Sens. Heather Steans and Laura Fine and state Reps. Kelly Cassidy, Bob Morgan, Jehan Gordon-Booth, Celina Villanueva and David Welter.
In their letter, the legislators also reassured medical marijuana card holders that they will be given priority access to pot when recreational marijuana is made legal. Under state law, dual-use pot shops will be required to keep a monthly inventory of medical cannabis on hand that’s comparable to the average amount that was sold in the six months leading up to the implementation of the new legislation.
However, the group wrote, patients and caregivers have already “raised concerns to us and to the media about product shortages, and alleged product & price manipulations.”
“We have relayed this information to the Pritzker Administration and have confidence that they take these matters as seriously as we do,” they wrote.
Jordan Abudayyeh, a spokeswoman for Gov. J.B. Pritzker, told the Sun-Times that the administration is actively monitoring supply, adding that regulators can penalize “bad actors” and potentially revoke dispensary and cultivation licenses held by those who violate the law.
Both the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation, which oversees dispensaries, and the Illinois Department of Agriculture, which regulates cultivation centers, are monitoring shortage-related complaints and can track inventories to check whether license holders are adhering to provisions that grant medical patients priority access to cannabis, Abudayyeh said.
Eighteen of the state’s 21 existing cultivation centers have been issued licenses to start growing recreational cannabis. Those grow operations will be tasked with supplying the 37 dispensaries that have been licensed to dole out both medical and recreational weed.