A study commissioned by Illinois state lawmakers has determined that the state’s licensed medical marijuana growers would not be able to keep up with demand if recreational pot is legalized. The report, by Colorado consulting firm Freeman and Koski, predicts that the 16 licensed cannabis cultivators would only be able to meet 35 to 44 percent of demand if the recreational use of pot is legalized. The study’s estimates were based on research that shows 8 percent of Illinois residents admit to using cannabis and the state’s strong tourism industry.

With state leaders including new Gov. J.B. Pritzker calling for an end to the criminalization of cannabis, some see an opportunity to diversify Illinois’ legal marijuana industry. Democratic Sen. Toi Hutchinson of Chicago Heights said that the state’s cannabis industry should be opened up to include entrepreneurs from communities disproportionately impacted by America’s war on drugs.

“We have a whole industry that’s treating it like the gold rush, but you have generations of folks who are still living with all the impacts of what the criminal justice system did to them,” said Hutchinson. “It’s unfair to discuss this in any other way.”

The study was commissioned by Chicago Democrats Sen. Heather Steans

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