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Recreational marijuana now legal in Illinois

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Recreational marijuana now legal in Illinois
Customers leaving HLI Alternatives celebrate their purchase of recreational marijuana on the first day of sales in the state of Illinois Wednesday. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 1 (UPI) -- Marijuana dispensaries in Chicago and throughout Illinois opened their doors to recreational users on Wednesday morning. New Year's Day marked the first day of legal recreational weed sales in the state. Illinois is the 11th state to legalize recreational cannabis.

At dispensaries in Chicago, hundreds of residents lined up around the block, waiting for store doors to open. According to the Chicago Tribune, 43 stores in the state had received the necessary permits in time to sell recreational weed on Jan. 1. Many opened their doors at 6 a.m. At least six stores are still working to get approved.

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One dispensary decided against selling marijuana flowers to recreational customers in order to ensure medical marijuana patients don't face a shortage as a result of increased demand. The Herbal Care Center told NBC Chicago it would still sell edibles to recreational users.

Other stores said they would limit the amount of marijuana flowers and edibles that recreational users could purchase. The wait to buy pot at some stores was as long as three hours, according to the Tribune.

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Some would-be buyers went straight from New Year's Eve celebrations to the long lines.

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"I don't even smoke that often," Cody Lindley, who got in line at 4:30 a.m., told CBS Chicago. "But I was like 'it's a part of history, I live close' and I was up for New Year's Eve so strolled on over."

On Tuesday, the day before recreational marijuana turned legal, Gov. JB Pritzker issued 11,017 pardons for people convicted of misdemeanor marijuana crimes in the state. Records of the pardoned crimes will be expunged in the coming months.

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