Where does cannabis fit in your professional portfolio right now? 

While hospitality, travel and a myriad of other industries await whatever comes next, consumers continue to purchase weed at a wicked clip while the Illinois-based companies who serve them expand their operations. 

Legal cannabis retailers in Illinois, while restricted due to product availability limitations and coronavirus physical distancing regulations, generated more than $110 million in sales during the first quarter 2020, including $36 million in March. 

Although inclusive of medical sales, that figure does not account for unreported illegal market transactions, where end users text their dealers orders with turnaround times considerably faster than Instacart. 

Chicago-based Cresco Labs made headlines this week, announcing plans to hire more than 250 staffers – many who up until recently worked at hotels and restaurants – to work at its many retail locations in Illinois and nationwide. Meanwhile, the publicly traded company, which also quietly refreshed its board and management team, is prepping a pop-up pot stand for online order pickup for recreational customers at its newly authorized River North location at 436 N. Clark Street.  

“The industry, while young, is still more nimble than most,” said Mike Luce, co-founder of Chicago-based High-Yield Insights. “Companies are discovering different ways to get product to consumers that don’t necessarily rely upon them coming into the store.”

Nationally, Delaware lawmakers this week authorized cannabis delivery for medical dispensaries, joining Michigan as a state that expedited direct-to-consumer sales channels as a result of coronavirus physical restrictions. Earlier this year, Illinois State Representative Sonya Harper (D-6) introduced a bill to legalize cannabis delivery in Illinois

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Brad Spirrison is a journalist, serial entrepreneur and media ecologist. He lives in Chicago with his son. Interests include music, meditation and Miles Davis.