Lake County Cannabis – Is It Legal & Where To Buy 2024

Is Cannabis Cultivation Legal in Lake County?

Yes, cannabis cultivation is legal in Lake County. On January 1, 2020, the recreational use of cannabis was legalized in Illinois. Cannabis cultivation is allowed in licensed facilities. Even persons with certified, qualifying medical conditions and state-issued registry cards are allowed to grow marijuana at home. The restrictions for homegrown cannabis include: 

  • The property owner and/or landlord must knowingly allow homegrown cannabis 
  • The cannabis may not be sold or given away to others
  • Cannabis plants must be in an enclosed and locked space, out of view from the neighbors or public
  • This space can only be accessed by a person with a state-issued registry card
  • The space must be locked with a lock and key different from the key that is used to enter the home
  • Only a maximum of 5 plants can be grown per household, even if there is more than one registry card holder living in the home

The Lake County Board approved an ordinance on May 11, 2021, that allows cannabis businesses to operate in unincorporated Lake County, depending on certain zoning restrictions. These adult-use cannabis facilities, including manufacturers, transporters, dispensaries, and cultivators, are permitted to operate within the industrial zoning and general commercial districts. On the other hand, any other adult-use cannabis businesses will require a public hearing and the approval of the Lake County Zoning Board of Appeal for these facilities to operate. Cannabis businesses are not allowed to function in residential zoning districts.

Is Cannabis Manufacturing Legal in Lake County?

Yes, cannabis manufacturing is legal in Lake County. An amendment to Chapter 151 of the Lake County, Illinois Code of Ordinances says that adult-use cannabis manufacturers or craft growers are not permitted to operate on any lot within 250 feet of a property line of a pre-existing nursery school, primary or secondary school, daycare center, residential care home, hospital, library, park, or an area zoned for residential use. Each cannabis manufacturing facility shall be a minimum of 30 feet from its surrounding property lines.

All manufacturing and production-related operations shall occur in an enclosed and locked facility. The manufacturer shall also provide and maintain security on the entire space, including video surveillance, lighting, alarms, and security personnel to ensure the safety of persons and to protect the facility from theft. The facility shall also be enclosed by a high wall or security fence or wall.

Is Cannabis Retail Legal in Lake County?

Yes. According to the Lake County Recreational Cannabis Zoning Task Force, cannabis dispensaries shall install building enhancements, such as lighting, security cameras, or other improvements in order to ensure the safety of both customers and employees. Cannabis dispensaries are not permitted to operate or establish any lot within 250 feet of the property line of a residential area or any pre-existing forest preserve property; within 500 feet of the property line of a pre-existing day residential care home, daycare center, college, park, hospital, or library; or within 1000 feet of a nursery school, preschool, primary, or secondary school. 

Here are specific guidelines for the purchase and use of cannabis in Lake County:

  • The purchase or use of cannabis is legal for 21 years old and above
  • This does not apply to persons who have state-issued registry cards for qualifying health conditions
  • A person 21 years old and above cannot use cannabis in close proximity to anyone under the age of 21
  • A parent or guardian must not permit underage cannabis use on their property


The possession limit of cannabis in Lake County is any combination as follows:

  • 30 grams of raw cannabis
  • Cannabis-infused products or products containing a total of not more than 500 mg of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
  • 5 grams of cannabis in concentrated form


The approved forms of cannabis include oil, edibles, ointments, tincture, and beverages.

Is Cannabis Delivery Legal in Lake County?

Yes. According to The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (410 ILCS 705), all cannabis delivered by a transporting facility must be entered into a data collection system and placed into a container for transport. However, the transporters are only allowed to deliver cannabis to a craft grower, a cultivation center, a dispensing organization, a testing facility, or an infuser organization. Furthermore, these transporters are subject to random inspections by the Illinois State Police, the Department of Agriculture, or the Department of Public Health.

How to Get Medical Marijuana Card in Lake County

To obtain a medical marijuana card in Illinois, a qualifying patient must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Be a resident of the state of Illinois during the time of application and remain a resident during participation in the program
  • Have a qualifying medical condition
  • Have a signed doctor’s certification for the use of medical cannabis
  • Complete the fingerprint-based background check
  • Not have been convicted of any excluded offense 

You may also fill out the application form provided by the Illinois Department of Public Health, pay an application fee of $100 through money order, credit card, or check and make it payable to the Illinois Department of Public Health, then mail it to: 

Illinois Department of Public Health

Division of Medical Cannabis

535 West Jefferson Street 

Springfield, Illinois 62761-0001

For questions or concerns, you may also contact them by phone: 217-782-4977.

How Has Cannabis Legalization Impacted the Economy of Lake County?

Statewide, the legalization of recreational cannabis in Illinois offers an upside risk to become a booming business. According to the Illinois Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability February 2022 report, Illinois exceeded $1 billion in adult-use cannabis sales in 2021, generating more tax income than alcohol sales.

According to the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, Section 65-10, cannabis sales are taxed at 10% for cannabis with THC levels of 35% or less; 25% for cannabis with THC levels above 35%; and 20% for cannabis-infused products such as edibles. This tax is added to the standard state and local sales taxes. 

In June 2022, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker said that the county would use cannabis revenue to support other community-based organizations. The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act requires using 25% of all cannabis tax revenue to support communities hurt by economic disinvestment and violence.

The Effects of Cannabis Legalization on Crime Rates in Lake County

Statewide, the FBI crime database reported a significant decrease in Illinois’ DUI cases from 2018 to 2020, from 2,815, 392, and 231, respectively. Note that the legalization of recreational marijuana went into effect in 2020.

As for the total drug-related cases in Lake County from 2018 to 2020, data generated from the Illinois State Police annual crime report showed a decrease in the number of arrests from 1884, 1445, and 769, respectively.

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Lake County Cannabis