SAUGET — There are now two places in the Metro East where people can legally purchase recreational marijuana.
The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation awarded the Green Solution in Sauget a “same-site” license Wednesday, which allows the dispensary to open its doors to recreational users in addition to the medical marijuana patients it already serves. The department also awarded a license for a recreational-only site in Quincy.
Officials from the Green Solution did not respond to requests for comment before our deadline.
The Sauget dispensary joins Illinois Supply and Provisions in Collinsville, the other dispensary in the St. Louis region, as outlets where people can legally buy cannabis.
“It was just a matter of time,” said Sauget Mayor Richard Sauget Jr. He said he expected recreational sales would come to his village when the medical dispensary first opened there.
Marijuana dispensaries can be financial boons for cities. Collinsville stands to pull in between $1 million and $1.3 million a year in sales tax on recreational cannabis. But the village of Sauget won't see those kinds of figures, even though it has a sales tax in place, the mayor said.
“The timing of the legalization was such that the Department of Revenue doesn’t recognize our sales tax increase,” Sauget said. “We will not receive those taxes until July.”
Another dispensary in the Metro East takes pressure off Illinois Supply and Provisions, which had to close its doors to recreational customers on Monday and plans to reserve Mondays to serve medical marijuana customers for the rest of the year.
“This is a learning process, and we will continue to make adjustments that are in the best interests of both our medical patients and adult-use customers until we find our new normal,” said Abner Kurtin, Ascend Wellness Holdings founder, in a press release. Ascend Wellness Holdings owns Illinois Supply and Provisions.
The Sauget dispensary won’t immediately open its doors to recreational customers, though. It needs the physical license from the state in its store to officially begin recreational sales.
Operators have not set a date for when the Green Solution will be open for recreational marijuana customers.
More dispensaries could come to the Metro East.
Illinois Supply and Provisions plans to open a secondary location in Fairview Heights. The Green Solution also plans to open another site, but the dispensary is still searching for a location. The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act signed into law last June lets any current medical dispensary apply for a license to open a secondary location in the same region.
Four additional dispensaries could open in the Metro East this year after the state grants 75 licenses for applicants that don’t have an existing medical dispensary.
Those will be awarded by May 1 and could bring the total number of Metro East marijuana dispensaries to eight.
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