CHICAGO — On Saturday, Ivano Ipsaro Passione braved the snow to wait in a long line at NuMed dispensary in Bucktown, picking up a peanut butter edible bar and a vape cartridge for $78.
But there’s something else Passione picked up he wasn’t planning for: a hefty $26.37 tax on his bill. Like other dispensaries, NuMed doesn’t itemize the various taxes consumers pay, making them confusing to compute.
Illinois’ steep weed taxes, combined with already high cannabis prices tied to a dwindling initial supply, has some people keeping their street dealer on speed dial.
But dispensary owners, market analysts and legislators who crafted the state’s weed bill all are urging patience, saying the prices will come down.
Dispensaries have asked customers to check social media to learn whether their favorite shop has enough legal weed to sell before stopping in. Outsized demand, limited supply, high taxes and Illinois’ quick on-ramp from a small medical market to full legalization are contributing to the high price.
Illinois’ legal weed prices are higher than any other state across all products, said Andy Seeger, cannabis research manager at the Brightfield Group. The sticker shock of Illinois’ legal weed will allow street dealers to stay in business, he said.
“This should drive some people back to their weed man. There will always be a black market and we’ve seen this in other places with governments that need to fine tune their tax structures,” he said.
Part of the issue is that Illinois wasn’t fully developed as a medical marijuana market before recreational cannabis was rolled out, Seeger said. Where patients in other states could get a medical card for anxiety or insomnia, the list of conditions to qualify for a medical marijuana in Illinois was much shorter — leading to less available supply in the