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On August 1, 2013, then-Governor Pat Quinn signed the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act into law. The Act authorized qualifying patients to register with the state in order to obtain medical marijuana. In 2016 Illinois approved applications for 5,600 qualifying patients. These patient counts were very low, in part because Illinois does not include chronic pain as a qualifying condition. Chronic pain is by far the most common qualifying condition for medical cannabis in other states.
In 2018, voters in Cook County–the state’s most populous county that includes Chicago–approved a nonbinding ballot initiative supporting legalizing recreational marijuana at the state level.
On June 25, 2019, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed House Bill 1438 (410 ILCS § 705), the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, which establishes licensing and taxation process for adult-use cannabis dispensaries.
This law permits Illinois residents age 21 and over to purchase and possess up to 30g of cannabis, 500mg of cannabis infused product and 5g of cannabis cannabis concentrate from adult-use dispensaries. Non-Illinois residents can make purchases and possess cannabis as well but are limited to 15g of cannabis, 250mg of cannabis-infused product and 2.5g of cannabis concentrate.
The law also automatically expunges all convictions based on possession of up to 30 grams of marijuana. Those with convictions for possessing between 30 to 500 grams may also petition the court to vacate their convictions.
Available License Types
Illinois will be offering 110 more dispensary licenses at the end of 2021. This was signed into law in May 2021 by Governor J.B. Pritzker.
Recreational Cultivation Center license
Allows a business to cultivate, process, transport, and perform other necessary activities to provide cannabis and cannabis-infused products to cannabis business establishments.
Nonrefundable application fee of $30,000.
Annual registration/renewal fee of $100,000 is required.
Recreational Craft Grower
Allows licensee to cultivate, dry, cure and package cannabis and perform other necessary activities to make cannabis available for sale at a dispensing organization or use at a processing organization
Non refundable application fee of $5,000
$2,500 application fee for social equity applicants
Craft growers are allowed to contain up to 5,000 square feet of canopy space on its premises for cultivating plants that are more than 5 inches tall
Recreational Infuser license
Permits business to directly incorporate cannabis or cannabis concentrate into a product formulation to produce a cannabis-infused product
Non-refundable application fee of $5,000
$2,500 application fee for social equity applicants
Annual renewal fee of $20,000
Recreational Dispensing license
Allows licensee to acquire cannabis from licensed cannabis business establishments for the purpose of selling or dispensing cannabis, cannabis-infused products, cannabis seeds, paraphernalia or related supplies to purchasers or to qualified registered medical cannabis patients and caregivers
Non-refundable $30,000 application fee
Annual renewal fee of $60,000
Recreational Transporter license
Allows a business or organization to transport cannabis on behalf of a cannabis business establishment.
Non-refundable application fee of $5,000.
$2,500 application fee for social equity applicants.
Annual renewal fee of $10,000.
The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act gives local jurisdictions the ability to opt out of the adult use cannabis program and prohibit commercial cannabis activity regardless of state law. The list of local jurisdictions that have enacted, or will likely be enacting bans can be found here.
Key Dates and Fees
The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation will begin accepting
applications for new Conditional Adult Use Dispensing Organizations on December 10,
2019, at 9:30 A.M CST. The deadline for submitting applications is January 2, 2020 at 12:00pmCST.
Adult Use cannabis sales may begin as soon as January 21, 2020, by Early Approval Dispensing Organizations and Cultivations, grandfathered in under existing Medical Cannabis regulations.
On January 7, 2020, the State will publish application materials for Infusers, Transporters, and Craft Growers. The application fee is expected to be $5,000.
On May 1, 2020, new Conditional Adult Use Dispensing Organization licenses will be issued.
On July 1, 2020, the State will issue up to 40 Craft Grower licenses, 40 Infuser licenses, and an unlimited number of Transporter licenses.
An additional round of 60 licenses will be distributed at a later date in 2021.
Non-Social Equity Applicants
$5,000 application fee
$60,000 for a two-year license
Social Equity Applicants
$2,500 application fee
$30,000 for a two-year license
This site has lots of information about the craft grower licenses too. “There are 40 licenses authorized in this first batch, with an additional 60 that will be authorized in December 2021.”
Estimated market size
Illinois is estimated to produce a revenue range of approximately $1,690,248,000-$2,577,072,000, if all cannabis consumers chose to procure cannabis from the commercial market and the price remained steady.
how to start a marijuana business illinois
If you are just starting your marijuana business, the next best step is to start a Business Plan to help educate your team and be ready to apply for a marijuana business license. If you are ready to apply for a Marijuana Business License in Illinois, please Contact us or call our offices to set an appointment to get started. You can also select another State Opportunity, or fill out our Contact Form to discuss potential strategies such as Investment or Partnership Opportunities.