For the first time, Illinoisans were able to purchase cannabis products legally. Hundreds of eager customers stood hours in lines across the state. One of the only dispensaries carrying a supply of coveted 'flower' or 'bud' was at 'Rise Canton.'
General Manager Greg Gossett was the first customer to make a legal purchase in Canton. He did so at 7:13 am on Wednesday. They had planned to wait until 8 to start selling, but the lines would not wait.
"I was here about three o'clock in the morning and there was already about 15-20 people in line."Greg Gossett, Rise Canton GM
Gossett said they employed a number system. So people in line were given a number and didn't necessarily have to wait out in the cold. But that stopped after they hit 200 right away, with hundreds more waiting in line. They served the crowds with donuts and coffee in the morning. Then they brought in Jimmy John's sandwiches for those in line in the afternoon.
The capacity for the shop is 39 people. With eleven POS or Points of Sale, Gossett said the average person spends between 15-20 minutes in the store. After they've selected what products they want, a team in the back of the building picks the orders and brings them up front. Then they're placed in a sealed bag legal to carry the products in.
Gossett said they wouldn't run out like many other dispensaries on first day of opening. This was due in part to their 'rationing' of the sought after flower. They limited customers to 1/8th oz. or around 3.5 g per person. They did not limit customers on other products such as edibles and oils, up to the legal limit.
"Patience, you know everybody just be patient with the process."Greg Gossett, Rise Canton GM
Many customers felt like this day was a long time coming. "We've talked about this for years," said Shannon Settles of Galesburg. He and his dad Marty waited for over two hours and were some of the first hundred to get in and out.
"We're tired of sneaking around and getting it you know, illegally. I just didn't want my son to have to sneak around like I had to. So this is a big thing for Illinois."Marty Settles, Galesbur
Others came to get marijuana for a loved one or significant other struggling with health problems but not qualified for a medical marijuana card. "People that are suffering are able to get what they need," explained Craig Hendrix of Canton. He and his wife Emilie each purchased the maximum amount of bud along with a couple other items they'd never tried. They spent "around $500" he said, adding that others in the shop were spending a lot more than he was.
The Hendrix's admit the prices at the dispensary are more than what a black market dealer would charge. But that comes with a risk he said. "You risk having a problem purchasing anything other than flower on the illegal market. Cartridges and oils and things like that you're really risking it," said Hendrix.
As of 6:30 pm on Wednesday, one person with 'Rise' said they had served over 700 customers on the first day. The line was still out the door and halfway down the side of the parking lot. They cut off the line at 7, so anyone who was in line would be served. They are open again from 8-8 through Sunday with normal hours starting Monday.
Legal marijuana doesn't mean you can smoke wherever you want, however. For a full list of answers to your Frequently Asked Questions you can find it here.