CHICAGO (CBS) – In fewer than three weeks, recreational sale of marijuana becomes legal in Illinois.
But before a single bud has been sold- there is already a shortage, and medical patients are feeling the impact.
Marijuana patients this fall helped us document a disturbing trend well in advance of legal recreational sales–a shortage in supply at the state’s medical dispensaries.
As supplies fell, prices began to rise, and there were warning about limited sales.
State pot czar Toi Hutchinson, formally special adviser to the governor for cannabis, said the supply problem is “an ongoing challenge.”
“There could be hiccups along the way,” she said. “I am always worried about patients and their ability to have what they need.
CBS 2 brought the concerns of patients like Paul Jochum straight to her office. He said his medical supply of pot rose from $250 to “well over $400.”
“I think there are some market forces at play,” Hutchinson said.
Illinois marijuana laws requires dispensaries have a 30-day supply ready for medical patients before a single product is sold for recreational use.
Some patients wonder whether dispensaries are secretly stockpiling supplies.
“We need to know why some of these dispensaries are stocked and why some are not,” Kalee Hooghkirk, a cannabis patient advocate, told CBS 2 last month.
“We definitely don’t want to incentivize that behavior,” Hutchinson said. “Some of those things we can’t anticipate all we can do is respond once it’s happened.
Hutchinson stopped short of confirming those suspicions, but she did note a new state requirement that dispensaries can only sell recreational marijuana they received after Dec. 1, earlier stockpiled supplies remain exclusively for medical sales.
“We are watching ratios; we are watching what’s on the shelf; we are watching where they get it from,” Hutchinson said.