Marijuana shops in Illinois, the 11th state to legalize recreational weed use, could face a supply shortage when recreational use becomes legal Jan. 1.

Shop owners and growers warned customers Friday high demand could see supplies quickly go up in smoke.

“I’m fully anticipating there’s going to be product shortages in the early days,” Kris Krane, president and co-founder of 4Front Ventures, told the Chicago Tribune. “There just isn’t going to be that much product available on Jan. 1."

4Front Ventures owns the Mission Shore South medical marijuana dispensary in Chicago and a growing facility in suburban Elk Grove Village. The Elk Grove facility is one of 21 growing operations in the state, only seven of which have received state-approved licenses to begin growing recreational weed. While several of those facilities have begun expanding, they aren’t expected to be ready in time for shop openings.

Shops in Colorado and Nevada also faced similar supply and demand issues following legalization.

Illinois has seen a dramatic rise in the number of people in its medical marijuana programs. The Tribune reported the number nearly doubled in 2019, and medicinal users will be going to the same shops as recreational users. Shortages could also result in $10,000 fines for shops that can’t provide for patients.

“It’s going to be a bumpy first six months or so,” Jeremy Unruh, director of public and regulatory affairs, told the Chicago Tribune. “Six months from the passage of the bill to the first sale is very, very quick.”

The shortages could help increase the number of licenses issued to small “craft” growers across the state. Applications for smaller growers open in 2020 and could help address any shortage problems. Licenses for large growing plants won’t be issued until 2021.

Marijuana plants grow at a dispensary in Los Angeles
Marijuana plants grow at a dispensary in Los Angeles AFP / Robyn Beck