Dispensaries in southern Illinois thrive with new legislation as supplies run short

By Keaton Yates, Staff Reporter

Southern Illinois residents celebrated 2020 by lining up outside of dispensaries for the first day of legal recreational marijuana.

Three dispensaries in the region are now able to sell both recreational and medicinal cannabis, including Marion’s Harbory, and Thrive in Anna and Harrisburg.

All of the businesses experienced shortages during the first weeks after new state legislation ended the prohibition of marijuana. Thrive had to reduce sales to only medicinal products and edibles were limited to three items per customer according to the store’s voicemail. 

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“We’re very early into the sales, and we know it’s been pretty successful so far. We’re hoping that it continues and that it draws new businesses and helps our community flourish,” said Dori Bigler, Anna’s city administrator.

Anna has a 3% tax on marijuana products and Carbondale has a 2% tax. Medical marijuana is exempt from these taxes.

Harbory became so busy that its voicemail inbox could not take any other messages. The Daily Egyptian reached out to Harbory, Thrive Anna and Thrive Harrisburg but the businesses did not respond to comment.

Carbondale currently does not have a dispensary or anywhere that sells marijuana product, but there could be developments in the future. 

“I know the economic development team with the city has already had several inquiries that they’re responding to,”  Jennifer Olson, Carbondale’s president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce, said.

Jacob Buckman, owner of the Carbondale business Legal Smile, noticed a significant change in sales in the past month. Legal Smile sells glass, electronics for vaping and CBD, he said.

“We are starting to grow hemp, cannabis, and we’re going to start carrying the pots, fertilizer, scissors, anything you need to start growing,” Buckman said.

Buckman said he chose Carbondale to set up Legal Smile because Carbondale was lacking businesses in the smoke industry and saw a small window of opportunity, he said.

“I think that the store will impact the community positively,” Buckman said. “Hopefully they’ll make it more accepted and become more educated on it, that’s the biggest hurdle right now.”

(See more: Nipping it in the bud; SIU does not plan to change policies regarding marijuana use)

Staff reporter Keaton Yates can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @keatsians.

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