Illinois Medical Cannabis Shortage

There currently is an extremely limited supply of flower for patients in Illinois Medical Cannabis program. State of Illinois has not acknowledged or implemented an investigation into this shortage. Which is affecting patients health daily.

Currently dispensaries and cannabis producers are playing pass the blame. Dispensaries claim they can only purchase what producers make available to them. Cultivators keep stating they are increasing production and building new grow / processing facilities.

Cultivators claim they were caught off-guard by programs expansion. I find this hard to believe for several reasons. This industry has continued to sell politicians and patients on claim that current cultivators would be able to meet current and future demand. Obviously this is not correct currently. Many of these cultivators are conglomerates who operate in multiple States. They have experienced growing pains with those States programs. So it would seem these seasoned veterans have not learned from past hurdles.

There is plenty of history in past 5 years – showing what worked and didn’t work within other programs. Plenty of examples exist in regards to demand from legal medical and recreational States.

Reality is someone can’t be telling the truth. Dispensaries have been empty or in short stock of cannabis flower for several months. Many have started rationing how much flower a patient can purchase. Hoping to have availability for most clients.

While a natural medicine takes time to grow – this can’t be only reason for short supply. Interestingly enough higher priced concentrates, edibles, topicals and vapes seem to be readily available. Many medical patients have a hard enough time affording flower. So the even higher priced products aren’t an option. Even if they could make such purchases – for some those products don’t resolve or lessen their medical condition(s).

If this were an EpiPen, insulin or any other medicine than cannabis. Politicians would be up in arms – grandstanding and demanding answers. I guess in their minds – medical cannabis patients who also vote don’t deserve this same consideration.

Most news media continue to paint a rosy picture. Dispensaries and cultivators don’t mention flower shortages in interviews. They act as if all medical patients are getting their medicine and when Recreational goes legal January 1st 2020 – they stand by claims of being able to meet demand. When they currently can’t supply patients and dispensaries are rationing.

Imagine if traditional pharmacies started rationing drug supplies. Politicians, regulators and media would be enraged and demanding explanations. That same fury isn’t given to those who choose the natural medicine – cannabis.

Illinois law states that Medical Patients get first access to cannabis supply before Recreational. Considering there isn’t enough medical flower available now. It’s hard to understand how on January 1 that will change and enough will be harvested and packaged to supply Medical and Recreational customers. Unless as some have accused – industry is hoarding flower to increase profit margins at beginning of new year.

Legislators have put in place an amendment that is suppose to deter supply hoarding. While rules and regulations exist. There is no real time enforcement taking place. Penalties are listed within law. But that is after the fact and only when a violation is proven. As far as I’m aware there are no State employed compliance officers within dispensaries or cultivators. So any breaking of rules would have to be reported by customers, whistleblowers or depend on honor system. There are no fangs in those regulations.

Even if there was enough supply to meet demand. Current pricing keeps some medical patients away. Recreational customers are in for sticker shock. Like California – Illinois has multiple taxes attached to recreational purchases. This has allowed black market in California to stay in place. Lack of supply and high taxation will do same for Illinois for foreseeable future.

Keep in mind that information on pages linked below may not be up to date with latest rules and regulations. These are in a constant state of change do to legislation amendments.

Example = “Persons under 21 years of age are prohibited from purchasing smokable medical cannabis, including vaping products, paraphernalia and associated accessories – effective immediately”

That was just recently changed back to allowed a few days ago. Website page has NOT been updated to reflect that. This causes confusion and aggravation among patients. Leads to many forum community post that end up including confusing, conflicting, misleading and many times wrong information being shared.

Update 12/20/2019

Maribis of Springfield will be closed January 1, 2020. Due to supply shortages we will not begin recreational sales until further notice. We will resume normal business hours on January 2, 2020 and continue to serve our medical patients. Happy Holidays!

On-line Medical Cannabis Registry Application State of Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program

Illinois Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program

Select or Change an Illinois Medical Cannabis Dispensary

Illinois Medical Cannabis Patient Application IDPH

Patients are still wondering how this will be enforced. Law states punishment for not implementing this statue. But doesn’t offer any enforcement or real time compliance.

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