Illinois. Home of the Windy City. In 2020, Chicagoans can expect that wind to be carrying billows of cannabis smoke. The cannabis industry is expected to generate over $200 billion in revenue over the next decade. Illinois is a great place where prospective facilities manager can distribute medical as well as recreational cannabis. Here are a few important factors that potential cannabis business owners and operators ought to consider when establishing a successful as well as legally sound cannabis dispensary in Illinois.
Disclaimer: Cannabis laws vary from upon state. Although these critical points are important when choosing to open a dispensary, This article is not legally-binding professional advice. Business owners, investors, and operators must acquire the appropriate legal counsel in the state of Illinois when considering opening a dispensary or obtaining a medical marijuana card.
Obtaining a License to Sell Cannabis in Illinois
As of January 1st, 2020, the period for applying for a license to distribute cannabis in Illinois has closed. The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, the entity responsible for issuing cannabis licenses, stated that they would issue no more than 75 licenses during the period. Approved applicants can expect to receive the appropriate license before May 1st, 2020.
Medical Cannabis Dispensary License
One form of licensing the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation offers is known as the Medical Cannabis Dispensary License. This license will allow an operator to sell medicinal-grade cannabis to adults who possess the necessary medical marijuana card. To obtain a Medical Cannabis Dispensary License, prospective owners will have to provide the following:
- A hefty and non-refundable application fee of approximately $30,000
- An additional non-refundable fee equivalent to 3% of the organization's gross sales between June 1st, 2018, to June 1st, 2019, OR $100,000
- Complete a proposed principal officer application for each principal officer of the organization
Cannabis Possession Limits in Illinois
Cannabis laws in Illinois are still in need of advancement. Until January of 2020, only individuals who possessed a medical marijuana card were able to purchase cannabis in Illinois. These medical limits include:
- No more than 2 ½ ounces within a 14-day window for patients who possess a medical marijuana card
Additionally, adults who are at least 21 years of age can lawfully possess the following amount of cannabis:
- No more than 30 grams of cannabis flower
- No more than 500mg of THC found within cannabis-infused products (i.e., edibles)
- 5 grams of cannabis concentrates
Recreational cannabis consumers can also purchase up to 1 ounce, or 28 grams of dry cannabis flowers and up to ⅛, or 3 ½ grams of cannabis concentrates.
Most cannabis consumers will agree that is amount is more than enough.
Cultivating Cannabis at Home
Illinois has also enacted legislation that will allow individuals who are at least 21 years of age to grow cannabis in the privacy of their own homes. They are limited to no more than five cannabis plants at a time and must remain out of plain sight (i.e., front yard garden.)
Cannabis Businesses and Advertising
Similar to other substances recognized by the state of Illinois, there are a few restrictions on the types of advertising cannabis businesses are allowed to execute. Cannabis businesses are not allowed to advertise on radio, television, or any other form of medium where ⅓ of the prospective audience is assumed to be under the age of 21 years (i.e., Nickelodeon). Additionally, cannabis businesses are not allowed to sponsor entertainment events even if the majority audience is of the legal age of consumption.
Additional Cannabis Regulatory Information
Getting into the cannabis industry in the state of Illinois is a delicate process and requires a tightrope approach to prevent the revocation of licenses. Be sure to consult with the proper entities when advertising cannabis products.