In an effort by Illinois to level the playing field for its the rapidly growing legal cannabis market, the state's Department of Financial and Professional Regulation is allowing medical marijuana dispensaries to stay open later.

Matching the legally mandated cutoff time of recreational cannabis retail outlets, sellers of medical product may now turn off the lights at 10 p.m., as opposed to the former limit of 8 p.m. (all dispensaries are allowed to open as early as 6 a.m.).

Additionally, on concern that medical cannabis patients might lose out to recreational customers when product supplies become scarce, the department has issued guidance for dispensaries to prioritize such users.

Person in lab coat holding cannabis products.

Image source: Getty Images.

"Our Department will continue working to ensure patients receive the level of service they have come to expect from our medical cannabis program," the department wrote in its official statement on the matter.

The moves come amid high demand for the recreational form of the drug, which became legal in the state on Jan. 1. That hunger for product spurred sellers of recreational product to expand their opening hours.

At times, Illinois recreational dispensaries have been inundated by customers. Recent figures compiled by the state show that sales of recreational product topped $39 million in January, with many dispensaries reporting customers lining up outside their doors to obtain the goods.

Several multistate operators (MSOs) are based in Illinois and have gotten in on the market in its early stages. Notable among these are Cresco Labs (OTC:CRLBF) and Green Thumb Industries (OTC:GTBIF). Both Cresco and Green Thumb sell medical and recreational cannabis in the state.

The two marijuana stocks fell in Monday trading -- Green Thumb by less than 1%, and Cresco by over 3%.