Illinois Marijuana Business Licenses

Medical Marijuana in Illinois

In 2013, the State of Illinois enacted the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act (HB 1) to create a temporary statewide distribution program for qualifying patients. This measure permitted up to thirty five (35) qualifying conditions to allow patient access, however it excluded chronic pain as a qualifying condition – limiting numerous patients to accessing marijuana.

Upon approval of the pilot program’s final rules, the state of Illinois saw its first dispensaries open their doors to begin serving patients in November 2015. In 2016, the legislature passed SB 10, which extended the program to 2020, along with adding PTSD and terminal illnesses as qualifying conditions, establishing a petition process for adding new conditions, and extending the registration ID card validity period to three (3) years. By 2018, Illinois saw an increase in registered patients when the state removed the requirements for patients to be fingerprinted and undergo a criminal background check to qualify.

Recreational Marijuana in Illinois

Illinois lawmakers became the first to legalize the adult-use (21 and over) of cannabis through legislation, rather than ballot initiative. The law was enacted on January 1, 2020, with licensed sellers providing cannabis at the retail level.

The law allows Illinois residents age 21 and over to purchase up to one (1) ounce of flower (dried herb) and up to five (5) grams of cannabis concentrate (such as hashish or tincture). Illinois visitors are able to possess half of those stated above amounts. This law further allows adults to consume cannabis either in their homes or at certain approved establishments. However, businesses and landlords have the right to refuse its use on their properties.

In 2021, Governor Pritzker signed HB 1443 into law. Pursuant to the law, it permitted the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (“IDFR”) to create two (2) lotteries for a total of one hundred and ten (110) additional adult-use cannabis dispensary licenses. Further in July of 2021, the Department of Agriculture sent Notice of Awards to top-scoring Craft Grower (40), Infuser (32), Transporter (141), and Cannabis Community College Vocational Pilot Program (7) applicants notifying them that they were eligible to receive a license, further expanding the “Prairie State’s” marijuana market.

Applications for Marijuana Business Licenses

Currently, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation is not accepting applications for Dispensary licenses as their most recent application window closed on April 21, 2023 for social equity applicants.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture is not accepting applications for Craft Growers; Infusers; or Transporters as the application period was from January 7, 2020 until March 30, 2020.

If you are interested in pursuing a marijuana business license in Illinois, contact us to begin to put together a comprehensive plan. Schedule an appointment here so we can discuss your options!

Last Updated: July 21st, 2023

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