On June 25, 2019, Illinois became the 11th state to make recreational cannabis legal. In the 2 years since recreational cannabis sales to adults aged 21 and above began, Illinois has become one of the top-selling cannabis states in the U.S.
Although medical cannabis dispensaries had a headstart in the race, having been allowed to function legally since 2014, Illinois is making impressive strides with the adult-use sector, with its 110 recreational use dispensaries hitting a record $1.38 billion in sales in 2021.
The answer to this question is: yes. Under Illinois’ Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, cannabis businesses are allowed to acquire adult-use dispensing organization licenses to enable them to make legal sales to persons aged 21 years and older.
The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) oversees the licensing and regulation of cannabis businesses. In order to open a cannabis dispensary in Illinois, you must fulfill a number of requirements which include the following:
As of January 1, 2020, adults aged 21 and above who are residents of Illinois are allowed to purchase recreational cannabis from licensed retailers in Illinois. They can possess up to 30 grams of marijuana, up to 500 milligrams of THC in a marijuana-infused product, or up to 5 grams of marijuana concentrate.
Non-Illinois residents may possess up to half of what a resident can possess.
The sale of marijuana is limited to only licensed dispensaries.
Eligible patients, with a doctor’s recommendation, may legally consume medical marijuana. However, individual cultivation, even for medical use, is not permitted.
To open a dispensary in Illinois, you need an Adult Use Dispensing Organization License or Dispensary License. However, to reduce the costs associated with opening a dispensary, the IDFPR will award a Conditional Adult Use Dispensing Organization License to successful applicants, which costs $5,000.
This license reserves the right to an Adult Use Dispensing Organization License but does not permit the recipient to begin purchasing or selling cannabis.
Application forms for Adult Use Dispensing Organization Licenses are available on the IDFPR website. Successful applicants are then provided with Conditional Adult Use Dispensing Organization Licenses.
These give successful applicants 180 days to find a store location while new entrants are allowed in the market.
Once you have secured a location, passed an inspection, and paid the annual registration fee of $60,000, you will be awarded a full Adult Use Dispensing Organization License, and retail operations can begin.
The State of Illinois makes special provisions for Social Equity Applicants (SEAs). An SEA may be eligible for financial and technical assistance to obtain a license and start their cannabis business.
The criteria for becoming an SEA include one or more of the following:
Opening a dispensary in Illinois may cost you $75,000 to $180,000. A detailed breakdown of the costs of starting up a dispensary in Illinois will give you a look at real estate costs, business equipment and infrastructure costs, security costs, and operational costs.
Much like dispensary owners in other states, Illinois dispensary owners need good seed-to-sale software or a POS system that enables them to remain compliant.
Some of Illinois’ compliance requirements include the following:
BioTrack is the official State of Illinois traceability program. It uses its tracking and reporting capabilities to assist Illinois state and local governments with enforcement of regulations, tax collections, product quality verification, and the prevention of illegal cannabis production, sale, and consumption.