SOUTH CHICAGO — Customers have flooded Chicago’s dispensaries since recreational cannabis became legal Jan. 1, and on Monday it came to a head as most shops cut off sales to preserve their supply for medical marijuana patients.
But one option remained for recreational buyers Monday afternoon: Mission South Shore on the city’s South Side.
The dispensary at 8554 S. Commercial Ave., which is actually in South Chicago, was the sole city outpost still selling an extensive menu of recreational products Monday.
Jacob, a call center representative with the dispensary who did not give his last name, said he wasn’t aware of Mission South Shore’s exclusive status. He attributed it to the fact that the dispensary has an in-state cultivation site, though he couldn’t say if others did the same.
“We must have been prepared,” he said. “We’ve been keeping our cultivators and processors in check with our needs.
Mission South Shore had been busy all day, but this wasn’t out of the ordinary, Jacob said. The dispensary has been “very busy” since opening its doors on Jan. 1, and has been closing around 5 p.m. most days when supply gets low.
Despite the dispensary’s exclusive status, customers weren’t waiting too long to enter Monday afternoon.
Phil Holzendorf said he’d “just pulled up” to the dispensary around 2:30 p.m. and entered shortly thereafter. He lives about 40 minutes away in Indiana.
“I actually grew up down the block, and my cousin here, too,” Holzendorf said. “That’s how we knew about it; it’s right in the old neighborhood.”
Monday marked Holzendorf’s second visit to Mission South Shore, after waiting nearly three hours to enter a couple days after it opened.
That squares with Jacob’s estimate for all visitors — he said customers can expect a one-to-three-hour wait.
Holzendorf said he woke up Monday and skimmed an article about one North Side dispensary that had restricted sales due to a lack of supply.
“It’s pretty quick, in and out. This is probably the most convenient spot for the area in my eyes,” said Christopher Vilella. “The first few days were a little hectic, but they’re getting it together now.”
Vilella said the dispensary’s opening had “brought out a couple different stoners” from beyond South Chicago. But of the customers interviewed Monday afternoon, not many were from outside the neighborhood.
Monday’s line was much shorter than Mission’s second day of operation, said Kit, who was visiting with her friend Dan from Bronzeville.
Though she can now buy recreationally, Kit still intends to apply for a medical card. There are products like tinctures and bath bombs that aren’t available recreationally that she’s interested in using, she said.
Even when the line was long on Jan. 2, “a feeling of camaraderie” from excited customers made the wait seem quicker than it actually was, Kit said.
“The line was long but it was full of spirit,” Kit said. “People were joking and laughing, and I ran into someone I knew who works here apparently. It was just a nice, community atmosphere — we were all a part of something historic.”
“This is less busy than I thought it would be, honestly,” Dan said. “I was in Colorado when they legalized, and it was like an eight-hour wait in line … This is actually pretty tame.”
More than $10.8 million in weed was sold in the first five days of legal weed in Illinois, according to Gov. JB Pritzker’s office.
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