Yes. Cannabis cultivation is legal in Cook County pursuant to the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (CRTA). Also, following the legalization of medical marijuana under the Compassionate Use of the Medical Cannabis Program Act, registered patients with medical marijuana (MMJ) cards are permitted to cultivate cannabis indoors, subject to certain restrictions. Cook County residents who do not possess MMJ cards cannot cultivate cannabis indoors.
Besides holding an MMJ card, to cultivate cannabis indoors for medicinal purposes, an individual must be aged 21 or older and may not cultivate more than five cannabis plants at once. Each of the cultivated cannabis plants may be at least five inches tall and must be cultivated indoors in locations that are secure and locked away from public view. Illinois cannabis cultivation law also requires that a cannabis cultivator in Cook County obtain the permission of the residential property owner before commencing cannabis cultivation on the property. Although recreational or adult-use cannabis is legal in Illinois under the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (CRTA), Cook County pursuant to the CRTA, prohibits the indoor or home cultivation of cannabis for recreational purposes. Penalties for the cultivation of cannabis other than for legalized purposes and beyond the stipulated limits include prison terms of up to 15 years and fines reaching $100,000.
In Cook County, the outdoor cultivation of cannabis is only permitted to licensed cannabis cultivation centers and craft growers. A craft grower is authorized to cultivate cannabis in an area of up to 5,000 square feet of canopy space within its approved facility for cannabis plants in the flowering stage. In addition, the state’s Department of Agriculture may authorize an increase of the canopy area for cultivation in increments of 3,000 square feet by rule based on market need, the growing capacity of the licensee, and the licensee's history of compliance. The maximum canopy area that may be approved for a craft grower is 14,000 square feet for cultivating cannabis plants in the flowering stage.
Cook County places the following limitations on craft growers in the county:
Yes. Cannabis manufacturing is legal in Cook County. Licensed infusers typically conduct cannabis manufacturing in Cook County. Infusers are authorized to directly incorporate cannabis or cannabis concentrates in product formulations to produce cannabis-infused products.
Cannabis infusers in Cook County may not be located in any area zoned for residential use. In the Cook County seat of the City of Chicago, a cannabis infuser establishment may not be located within 660 feet of a residential district. A licensed infuser may share premises with a craft grower or a dispensing organization as long as each licensee stores their monies and cannabis in separately secured vaults to which the other licensee does not have access. An infuser may share a vault with a craft grower or dispensing organization if both licensees sharing the vault share more than 50% of the same ownership. Other regulations for cannabis manufacturing in Cook County are contained in Section 35-25 of the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act.
Yes. The retail sale of medicinal and adult-use cannabis is legal in Cook County. Medical cannabis sales can only be made to patients with valid registrations under the Medical Cannabis Patient Program, while adults aged 21 and above can purchase recreational cannabis within the stipulated limits from licensed dispensing organizations in Cook County. The following are operational regulations for dispensing organizations in Cook County:
For additional regulations and operational requirements for dispensing organizations in Cook County, review Article 15 of the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act.
Yes. Cannabis delivery in Cook County is permitted in accordance with Article 15 of the Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act. While cannabis delivery is legal, the Illinois CRTA only legalizes the delivery of cannabis to restricted access areas. Pursuant to Section 15-7-(f) of the CRTA, cannabis deliveries may not be accepted through the public or limited access areas except otherwise approved by the Illinois Department of Agriculture.
The medical marijuana (MMJ) card is an identification card qualifying the person named on the card to legally obtain and use medicinal marijuana within the stipulated limits. To be eligible to hold a medical marijuana card in Cook County, an individual must be registered under the Illinois Medical Cannabis Registry Program and suffer from one of the approved medical conditions. The medical conditions for which Illinois doctors may recommend the use of medical marijuana include:
Besides suffering from any of the qualifying conditions, an applicant for an MMJ card must also:
Once you meet all required criteria and possess the requisite documentation, you may initiate the application process online by selecting MCPP Patient Registration on the Illinois Cannabis Tracking System (ICTS). During the application on the ICTS, you will be required to pay an application fee which varies depending on the selected MMJ card term length and the number of registered caregivers. Typically, this fee ranges from $25 - $300. Applicants who qualify for reduced application fees may be eligible to pay approximately half of the usual fee. Applicants enrolled in the federal Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability programs are eligible for reduced fees. Veterans may also submit copies of DD214 forms to qualify for reduced fees.
Upon completing the application, the Illinois Department of Public Health may take up to 30 days to review the submission. If an application is successful, the applicant will receive a digital marijuana card through the online cannabis tracking system (ICTS), which may be printed for use to obtain medical marijuana. Note that the State of Illinois no longer issues physical medical marijuana cards. Medical marijuana cards in Cook County are valid for one, two, or three years depending on the term selected while completing the application process.
For more information on applying for medical marijuana cards for minors and eligible caregivers, visit the medical cannabis page on the Illinois Department of Health website. For more information on obtaining medical marijuana cards in Cook County, contact the local health department at:
Department of Public Health Administrative Office
7556 Jackson Boulevard
Forest Park, IL 60130
Phone: (708) 836-8600
Illinois Department of Public Health
Division of Medical Cannabis
535 W. Jefferson Street
Springfield, IL 62761-0001
Phone 1: (855) 636-3688
Phone 2: (217) 782-3300
Following its legalization of medical and recreational cannabis, Illinois has experienced an economic boost through the income generated from taxes imposed on cannabis and cannabis products. According to a research brief published by the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs, marijuana sales in Illinois exceed $660 million as the state collected in excess of $175 million in tax revenue in 2020.
Starting from July 2020, Illinois authorized its counties to collect taxes on recreational marijuana sales. In addition to local and state retail taxes, county governments are permitted to levy an additional 3.75% tax on retailers' gross receipts from the sales of adult-use cannabis. Cook County's tax rate is 3.0% for all locations in the county, including all unincorporated areas. Note that municipalities may also impose their own tax. For instance, the City of Chicago levies a 3.0% tax on retail sales of adult-use cannabis. Hence, in addition to the state levy of a 10% excise tax and a 6.0% sales tax, the total tax paid by a City of Chicago resident on cannabis purchase within the city boundaries is 16.0%.
Per the 2021 Annual Report of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR), dispensing organizations in the City of Chicago, the seat of Cook County, accrued $32,682,059 in revenue from the sale of adult-use cannabis between July 2019 and June 2020. In the same period, dispensing organizations in the city made sales worth $29,275,921 in medical cannabis. Between July 2020 and June 2021, the figures were $144,701,315 and $72,760,554 for revenues generated by dispensing organizations in adult-use cannabis and medical cannabis sales in Chicago respectively.
The 2021 IDFPR annual report also indicated that the City of Chicago recorded $7,030,786 million in cannabis tax revenue between January 2020 and June 2020. Between July 2020 and June 2021, dispensing organizations in the City of Chicago recorded $45,243,458 in cannabis tax revenue. Also, according to the research published by the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs, Cook County generated an estimated $16 million in total tax on cannabis sales between July 1, 2020, and April 30, 2021.
With recreational sales of cannabis only starting in 2020 in Cook County and official DUI arrests figures currently only available up till 2020, the impact of recreational cannabis legalization on the county's crime rate may only be determined when new data become available. However, according to research published by the UIC (University of Illinois), using data obtained from the Illinois Secretary of State, DUI arrests figures in the State of Illinois dropped yearly from 2014 to 2017. Note that the legalization of medical marijuana went into effect in 2014.
Prior to the legalization of medical cannabis in Cook County, the county recorded 10,175, 10,390, and 10,264 DUI arrests in 2011, 2012, and 2013. In the following years, Cook County recorded 9,719 and 9,419 DUI arrests in 2014 and 2015. Cook County's arrest rates for DUI decreased further in 2018, 2019, and 2020 as the reported figures were 7,714, 7,830, and 5,425, respectively.
Also, according to a report published by the LUC (Loyola University Chicago), with data obtained using the Uniform Crime Report (UCR) system, Cook County has witnessed declining violent and property crime rates from 2014 onwards compared to the preceding years.