Illinois Saw Huge Demand For Recreational Cannabis in What May Go Down as the Best Opening Day in U.S. Legalization History
MSOs Green Thumb and Cresco Labs Were at the Center of the Action With Cresco Completing the Very First Sale in Illinois
The first day of adult-use cannabis sales in Illinois went extremely well as it was reported that the Land of Lincoln produced day one sales of $3.2 million. Illinois recently became the 11th U.S. state to legalize recreational marijuana with sales officially commencing yesterday on New Year’s Day 2020 at 6 am local time.
Eager customers aged 21 and over flocked to the 37 dispensaries opened for business across the state of Illinois. Many people were forced to line up down the street for the opportunity to legally purchase cannabis in Illinois for the first time in over 200 years. To help pass the time waiting outside in the cold, some dispensaries handed out free pizza, donuts and coffee. Despite the long lines, the overall mood of consumers was upbeat and positive which was reflected in the roughly 77,000 individual transactions completed that day.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Juliana Stratton, the Lieutenant Governor of Illinois even partook in the action when she was spotted buying cannabis gummies at a dispensary. It was reported that Stratton received load applause from onlookers as she completed her transaction.
“[Wednesday] was the end of prohibition and the beginning of how we how we hope to grow a new industry in Illinois,” said Toi Hutchison, Illinois state cannabis czar.
As the new adult-use cannabis market in Illinois matures and many more retails stores open up, it is expected that sales will increase to around $2 billion to $4 billion annually.
“The amazing thing about that is that there’s a significant portion of these dollars that go directly into this community reinvestment fund, so we can continue to rebuild communities that have been hardest hit by the war on drugs,” Hutchinson said. “So sales are great but let’s never lose sight on the impact that we’re having on families around this state,” added Hutchinson.
Also worth noting, as part of the state’s new legalization, J.B. Pritzker, the governor of Illinois, has pardoned more than 11,000 people with past marijuana-related convictions. Also, over 700,000 people that have been arrested for reasons related to cannabis could see their records wiped clean.
All things considered, day one of recreational cannabis sales in Illinois was a huge success.
Opening Day in Illinois Sees GTII ‘Rise’ to the Occasion
Green Thumb Industries (CSE: GTII) (OTCQX: GTBIF) announced today that the company took part in the Illinois opening day festivities serving thousands of customers at the opening of the 1st recreational cannabis only store in the state. GTI’s ‘Rise Joliet’ adult-use only dispensary is the company’s 40th store nationwide and is located at 2903 Colorado Avenue in Joliet, Illinois.
Currently, Rise Joliet is open for business from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm. As of January 6th, the store’s hours will be adjusted to 8:00 am to 8:00 pm daily.
“January 1 was a historic day in Illinois as adult-use cannabis sales launched in Illinois, and we’re honoured that Rise Joliet is part of that history. Our stores that sell to all adults 21+ – Rise Mundelein, Rise Canton, Rise Joliet and 3C Joliet – have served thousands of people so far and the energy and enthusiasm from new customers has been overwhelming,” stated GTI Founder and CEO Ben Kovler.
In the State of Illinois, GTI now has 6 locations which include its medical cannabis only stores 3C Naperville and The Clinic Effingham. It is anticipated that The Clinic Effingham will commence recreational sales later in January pending a special use permit hearing. GTI’s Naperville store will continue selling medical cannabis until the planned non-binding voter referendum on adult-use sales in March. The company’s 2nd adult-use store ‘Rise Quincy’ is expected to open in the coming days pending final actions by the state of Illinois.
“We thank everyone who celebrated this milestone with us. 2020 is going to be another big year and we look forward to serving guests at our stores and enabling well-being through cannabis with our branded products such as Dogwalkers, incredibles, Rythm and The Feel Collection available at stores throughout the state,” added Kovler.
Video source: Green Thumb YouTube
GTII Stock Price Action
Shares of GTII closed trading today at $12.28 per share, down 3.99% on the day. Since hitting a December low of $10.23, GTII stock is up over 20% in the last 2 weeks.
Cresco Makes History on Day 1
Cresco Labs (CSE: CL) (OTCQX: CRLBF) reported today that the company served 3,145 customers on the first day of recreational cannabis sales in Illinois. Cresco sold a total of 9,258 cannabis products at its 5 Sunnyside Illinois retail stores located in Buffalo Grove, Champaign, Elmwood Park, Lakeview and Rockford. The average ticket price on day 1 was $135. According to the number of customers served and the average ticket price, Cresco potentially generated as much as $425,000 in opening day adult-use cannabis sales.
“We’re ecstatic for our Sunnyside* dispensaries to begin serving recreational customers on such a historic day that launches a new era of cannabis and the development of an industry that will bring greater justice, social equity and business ownership opportunities throughout the state. With 13 million residents and 100 million annual tourists, Illinois is predicted to be one of the largest recreational cannabis markets in the United States. Cresco is uniquely positioned in the supply-constrained state, with permission for the largest cultivation footprint at 630,000 square feet and ten retail dispensaries, including three in high traffic areas in the city of Chicago,” said Cresco Labs Co-Founder and CEO Charlie Bachtell.
Excited customers began lining up outside the company’s Sunnyside locations as early as 8 pm on New Year’s Eve. Some line ups grew so large that they wrapped around the buildings. Cresco officially opened its doors at 6 am sharp and immediately began serving people, many who had camped out overnight. That morning, Cresco had the distinct honour of completing the first sale in the entire state of Illinois which took place at the company’s Sunnyside Lakeview location. The customer on the other end of the first sale was Jacqueline Ryan of Forest Park, Illinois.
“We’re thrilled to be part of this historic day and to witness firsthand so much excitement from people on the first day of legal cannabis sales. Our dispensaries served thousands of customers on day one by educating new cannabis consumers, making product recommendations and making sure they had a seamless shopping experience. With five newly re-concepted Sunnyside* locations and an additional five dispensaries opening soon in high profile locations such as one next to Wrigley Field and two in Chicago’s downtown Central District, we expect to serve thousands more customers in response to strong demand. Our Sunnyside* concept is designed to move traffic efficiently, so despite the fact that long lines will likely continue in the first few days of adult-use legalization, we are positioned to ensure that each of our customers gets only the best possible service and the products they are looking for. Cresco is already the leader in Illinois, and we expect to be able to maintain this leadership position as the recreational cannabis market grows, contributing solidly to our overall revenue and our profitability,” added Cresco Labs Co-founder and President Joe Caltabiano.
Video source: Cresco Labs YouTube
Cresco Stock Price Action
Shares of CL stock closed today’s trading session at $8.50 per share, down 4.82% on the day. Cresco stock has performed extremely well over the past month. After touching a low of $5.90 early in December, CL stock has climbed as much as 61% in the last 4 weeks.
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Disclosure: The Cannabis Investor does not hold a position in any of the stocks mentioned in this article.