Customers turned away as recreational weed sales wrap up historic first day in Illinois

By Sun-Times staff

please click image for full article

Recreational marijuana is officially legal across Illinois today. Pot enthusiasts looking to get their first taste of legal weed can expect long lines and limited supplies at dispensaries.

Our journalists Tom Schuba, Rachel Hinton, Ashlee Rezin and Jake Wittich are reporting from dispensaries in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. Follow them on Twitter and check back here throughout the day for our live coverage.

NuMed Chicago near West Town had to turn away about a dozen customers about 30 minutes before closing at 7 p.m. due to the sheer volume of people visiting the store.

Only those who had checked in at the dispensary around noon and waited several hours could get inside to be served, said Jonah Rapino, director of marketing for NuMed.

”We’re still closing at 7 p.m., but we’re going to still have people in there at that time, so we won’t be able to let everybody in,” Rapinoe said.

According to Rapinoe, the dispensary ran out of marijuana flower around 4 p.m., but still had plenty of edibles, concentrates and other products. He estimated they served about 500 customers on Wednesday.

One customer, a teacher who asked to remain anonymous, said she had been waiting in line for almost 30 minutes. NuMed was her third stop after being turned away at two other dispensaries where the lines were too long.

”It’s disappointing but to be expected,” she said before asking others in line if they knew any other nearby dispensaries open late.

Everyone who couldn’t get in the store also expressed disappointment, but seemed to understand that there were too many people in line to realistically all be served.

”Everyone’s been so nice, patient and understanding about the long waits today,” Rapinoe said. “We really appreciate that, and look forward to do it all again at 10 a.m. tomorrow.”

—Jake Wittich