1. You can’t see or smell cannabis flower
Although common in other legal states, you cannot see or smell cannabis flower before purchasing at Illinois dispensaries. Flower and other cannabis products come to dispensaries pre-packaged from cultivation centers. It may be disappointing to many consumers to discover that when visiting the dispensary but Illinois law requires that “all items shall be individually wrapped at the original point of preparation.”
2. Product availability is limited
Seen in almost every other state, limited product options at dispensaries are very common in the early months of adult use legalization. In Illinois, the product shortage began even before that. The state medical cannabis program was expanded to include more qualifying conditions, subsequently, increasing the number of patients and the need to maintain an adequate stock of medicine.
3. Prices are currently higher
Currently, the demand by consumers for cannabis in Illinois significantly outweighs the available supply. Illinois dispensaries can only sell cannabis grown in the state by licensed cultivation centers. As the Illinois cannabis market finds a better balance between supply and demand, the prices are expected to decrease with time. This has been shown in nearly every state that has legalized adult cannabis use.
4. Cannabis delivery and drive-thrus are non-existent
When adult use legalization was passed, it contained provisions banning Illinois dispensaries from delivering cannabis products directly to customers and operating drive-thru windows. Although one can lawfully place online orders, it requires the individual to make the trip to the dispensary to pay and pick up their purchase. It is also unlawful for dispensaries to mail cannabis products to anyone.
5. No refrigerated or heated products can be sold
According to Illinois cannabis law, refrigerated or heated products cannot be sold at dispensaries “due to the potential for food-borne illness.” However, baked products (such as brownies, bars, cookies and cakes) infused with cannabis, manufactured at the cultivator level, can be sold at dispensaries to consumers. Dispensaries will often have a limited number of baked products available as a result of their short shelf life.
6. Vending machines are not permitted
Currently, four states allow the sales of cannabis products via vending machines. Illinois is not one of them at this time. Although convenient to consumers, the use of vending machines takes away the one-on-one person touch of consulting with a dispensary technician (a.k.a. budtender).
7. Patients cannot buy cannabis plant clones
Clones are the use of an existing plant branch cutting and rooting medium for transplanting a new, genetic copy of the parent plant. Some states permit the sales of cannabis clones but Illinois doesn’t. Beginning January 1, 2020, Illinois medical patients have the option to grow up to five plants over five inches tall at any given time. There are other guidelines for patients to follow but all must start with purchasing of seeds from a dispensary. Although not available at this time, seeds are expected to be made available to dispensaries from cultivators in the near future.