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Illinois licenses second recreational pot dispensary in Metro East

Illinois licenses second recreational pot dispensary in Metro East

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SAUGET — The St. Louis metropolitan area now has two stores that are authorized to sell marijuana to recreational users.

Illinois regulators last week licensed a dispensary in Sauget, The Green Solution, to sell recreational pot at its location at 2021 Goose Lake Road near GCS Ballpark, home to the minor league baseball team the Gateway Grizzlies. The dispensary has sold marijuana to Illinois medical marijuana patients since opening in 2015.

But it was not clear exactly when the store would begin recreational sales. A spokesman for the Denver-based marijuana retailer declined to comment. The Green Solution also operates a medical marijuana dispensary in Normal, Illinois.

The Sauget dispensary could help ease supply issues at a Collinsville dispensary that has experienced high demand for pot since it began selling to recreational users on Jan. 1.

The two dispensaries are the only two stores in the St. Louis area authorized to sell marijuana to recreational users.

The Collinsville dispensary, HCI Alternatives, has seen a line of customers out the door and down the street since it began selling to recreational users. The demand depleted the dispensary’s inventory, forcing it to close for a day to replenish its stock. Afterward, the dispensary announced it would sell to medical marijuana patients only on Mondays.

HCI Alternatives is changing the name of its Collinsville and Springfield stores to Illinois Supply and Provisions. The stores are owned by Ascend Wellness Holdings, a cannabis company that also operates dispensaries in Massachusetts, Michigan and Ohio.

Both HCI Alternatives and The Green Solution were among 52 medical marijuana dispensaries Illinois authorized in 2015. State regulators are now licensing the same dispensaries to sell pot to recreational users.

The state will begin receiving and processing applications to open new dispensaries on March 15. A list of licensed recreational pot dispensaries can be found at the state’s website: idfpr.com/profs/adultusecan.asp

Illinois’ marijuana laws allow only adults 21 and older to purchase marijuana, with a government-issued ID verifying age and home address. Both in- and out-of-state residents are limited in how much they can buy.

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Reporter covering breaking news and crime by night. Born in Algeria but grew up in St. Louis. Previously reported for The Associated Press in Jackson, Mississippi and at the Wichita Eagle in Wichita, Kansas.

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