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Patients of Illinois’ medical marijuana program have purchased approximately $801,000 of cannabis within the first month of the program’s debut.

“There are a lot of people who really need this product,”

says Zachary Zises, co-owner of Chicago’s Dispensary 33.

Nearly half of Illinois’ 3600 medical marijuana patients have participated in the program within the first month and more are expected, according to Joseph Wright, Program Director of Illinois medical cannabis initiative.

Local residents are embracing dispensaries as small businesses, hoping to reap the benefits of tax revenue and a stronger local economy.

“If you look at Denver and their business, their economy is doing really well and collecting money from taxes,”

says Chante Keller, a Chicago resident.

Approximately $57,000 has been collected from taxes paid by cannabis wholesalers at a rate of 7 percent. Only 16 licensed dispensaries are currently operating in Illinois.

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