Cresco Makes History In Illinois With State’s First Legal Adult-Use Cannabis Sales

Chicago-based cannabis company Cresco Labs kicked off the legalization of adult-use cannabis in Illinois on January 1, 2020, with thousands of sales at its new dispensaries and pre-grand opening lines that began forming at 8 p.m. on New Year’s Eve and wrapped around the buildings.

Jacqueline Ryan makes the first adult-use cannabis purchase in Illinois. ( Photo: Cresco Labs )

Cresco’s Sunnyside* dispensaries opened for business at 6 a.m. on January 1, with the first sale going to Forest Park resident Jaqueline Ryan at the Lakeview shop, followed by Aaron Swopes and his sister Elise who both participate in Cresco’s Chicago incubator program, which is part of the company’s Social Equity and Educational Development (SEED) initiative.

Illinois Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton, who has been a critical player in cannabis legalization in the state, was the next customer in line to make her first legal purchase.

Cresco Labs founder and CEO Charlie Bachtell says that, with the 13 million residents in Illinois and 100 million tourists visiting annually, the state is projected to become one of the largest adult-use cannabis markets in the nation.

“We’re ecstatic for our Sunnyside* dispensaries to begin serving recreational customers on such a historic day that launches a new era of cannabis and the development of an industry that will bring greater justice, social equity and business ownership opportunities throughout the state,” says Bachtell. “Cresco is uniquely positioned in the supply-constrained state, with permission for the largest cultivation footprint at 630,000 square feet and ten retail dispensaries, including three in high-traffic areas in the city of Chicago.”

Cresco Labs president and co-founder Joe Caltabiano says that, despite the long lines that are expected to continue for the first few days of adult-use legalization, the Sunnyside* concept is designed to move traffic along efficiently so that customers can find the products they are looking for and get the best possible service.

“Cresco is already the leader in Illinois,” says Caltabiano. “And we expect to be able to maintain this leadership position as the recreational cannabis market grows, contributing solidly to our overall revenue and our profitability.”

With an average customer ticket total of $135, Cresco Labs’ new Sunnyside* dispensaries sold a total of 9,258 cannabis products, including the company’s house brands, and items from other Illinois suppliers, to 3,145 people on New Year’s Day.