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No More Weed; Local Dispensaries Suffer From Shortages

CHICAGO (CBS) -- No more pot.

That's what many marijuana users were told Monday, because half of Chicago's dispensaries are sold out of recreational weed.

CBS 2's Vince Gerasole had the story Monday from a dispensary on Western Avenue, and has learned this could be a problem for months.

For months, the state, growers and dispensaries were warning us this day was coming, but that was overshadowed by the big buildup for recreational sales. These conditions could last for months.

The Dispensary33 marijuana dispensary on Clark Street in Andersonville, a guard turned away a steady stream of recreational customers seeking the new legal high.

"They are saying they are out of recreational for the day," said Donald Hajdari.

Posted signs outside Dispensary33 direct pot shoppers to their Instagram account - where managers said they'd keep a "check in a limited number" of recreational customers each day until further notice.

"Everyone is going low. Everyone is buying out and it's like, man, does anyone have the chance to try it," asked Hannah Free from Los Angeles.

Similar signs are posted outside a Logan Square dispensary. It's open for medical sales, but hasn't sold recreational cannabis since Saturday. Scenes repeated throughout the state.

The start of Illinois' legal weed sales on January 1 was impressive. Seventy-seven thousand people turned out that first day alone, spending about 3.2 million dollars.

But on Monday, there just doesn't seem to be enough weed to pass around.

"It's not a surprise," said Jeremy Unruh of PharmaCann, which grows and sells Illinois marijuana and easily serving customers in those long lines.

"We knew that demand would probably exceed our capacity to comfortably serve that demand," Unruh said.

The state and the industry began sounding the alarm bells last summer. Illinois' marijuana law was signed in June with architectural renderings and  state approval for grow house expansion taking about six months.

"Then it takes six months for the build out to occur. And once the build out occurs, it takes about three months to grow and harvest and process those plants," Unruh said.

For some companies expansion is already underway. Competitor Cresco is mounting this 224,000 square-foot facility in Lincoln, Illinois. But it takes weeks to grow a marijuana plant and get it into the supply chain. Unruh said in spite of short supplies, it's not time to judge the industry just yet.

"It's not what happens on day one, or day two or day three. It's what happens at month six. It's what happens at month 12, at month 18, at month 24. That's the roll out of this program. It's intended to be rolled out over years, not days," said Unruh.

A lot of patients may be worried about medical marijuana as to whether the supplies will be there for them. By law, a 30-day supply must be set aside for them.

That is something that the dispensaries, the grow houses and the state will be keeping an eye on in the months ahead.

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