Illinois is ramping up for its January 1, 2020 go live date for “adult use.” The Illinois Cannabis Tax and Regulation Act set some aggressive deadlines and so far, to its credit, the State is meeting those head on. In particular, the past few days have come with significant activity from the State on a variety of cannabis-related fronts:

  • On September 26, 2019, the State announced that State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Olympia Fields) would lead Illinois’s recreational cannabis program—accepting the position affectionately known as the “weed czar” or in this case “czarina.” We wish Senator Hutchinson well as she takes on this very important and extremely challenging role.
  • On September 30, 2019, the Illinois Department of Agriculture issued its first set of recreational cultivation licenses, allowing certain already licensed medical cultivators to start growing for recreational use. Cresco Labs, PharmaCann, Curative Health Cultivation, and Ascend Wellness all received the go ahead, and not a moment too soon; cultivators will need to begin the grow process almost immediately to meet the January 1st “go live” date.
  • On September 30, 2019, the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity released the long awaited map detailing the State’s “Disproportionately Impacted Areas,” available here:  https://www2.illinois.gov/dceo/Pages/CannabisEquity.aspx. This information is integral to prospective applicants as it allows them to determine whether they qualify as one category of Social Equity Applicants—a status that comes with a significant point boost in the license application process.
  • On October 1, 2019, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation met its stated deadline and released the Conditional Adult Use Dispensing Organization License application form. Applications for provisional dispensary licenses will be accepted beginning December 10, 2019 through noon on January 2, 2020.

In short, it’s all systems go in Illinois. As always, we will continue to monitor and report on any developments on our blog.