Illinois Marijuana Licensing

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What License Types Exist in Illinois?

There are 13 cannabis business license types in Illinois issued to business entities based on the cannabis-related activities they wish to undertake. The Illinois Department of Agriculture issues these licenses except medical and adult-use dispensing organization licenses, which are issued by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR).

Adult-Use Cultivation Center License

This license type allows businesses to grow, cure, package, and dry marijuana plants and process cannabis products for sale to licensed cannabis businesses. As stipulated in Article 20 of the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, an adult-use cultivation center licensee may have up to 210,000 square feet of space for growing flowering cannabis plants.

Illinois allows licensed medical cannabis cultivation centers to register to start growing marijuana for the recreational market by granting them its Early Approval Adult-Use Cultivation Center License. This license type permits a medical cannabis cultivation center license holder to grow, package, and transport marijuana and marijuana products to other licensed cannabis businesses for resale to recreational cannabis users aged 21 years and above.

For new businesses interested in obtaining Illinois’ adult-use cultivation center license, the state provides a Conditional Adult-Use Cultivation Center License. This is a temporary license issued to top-scoring applicants for adult-use cultivation center licenses. However, a conditional adult-use cultivation center license does not entitle a holder to start cultivating, selling, or processing cannabis or cannabis products. Businesses with this conditional license are given a set period in which to secure the cultivation locations and meet other requirements to obtain the full adult-use cultivation center license.

Craft Grower License

This license type allows a business to cultivate, cure, dry, and package marijuana to make it available for sale at a licensed cannabis dispensary organization or use at a licensed cannabis processing organization. A craft grower is permitted to have up to 5,000 square feet of space, subject to increase or decrease by the Illinois Department of Agriculture, for growing flowering cannabis plants.

Adult-Use Dispensing Organization License

This license type allows a business owner to buy cannabis, cannabis products, cannabis seeds, paraphernalia, and other related supplies for sale to cannabis users aged 21 years and older. An adult-use dispensing organization licensee may purchase supplies from a licensed cultivation center, processing organization, craft grower, or another dispensary.

Illinois offers a priority adult-use dispensing license to medicinal cannabis dispensaries already licensed to operate in the state. This license was called** Early Approval Adult-Use Dispensing Organization License**. It allows licensed medical cannabis dispensing organizations to sell cannabis and cannabis products to residents aged 21 years and older at separate dispensary locations from their registered medical dispensary sites.

New businesses intending to join the Illinois retail cannabis business are first granted the Conditional Adult-Use Dispensing Organization License. This is a temporary license issued to applicants for adult-use dispensing organization licenses and may be converted to permanent licenses if they meet specific eligibility criteria. Article 1 of the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act stipulates that a conditional adult-use dispensing organization license does not entitle a holder to start buying or selling marijuana or marijuana products.

Infuser License

This license type permits businesses to incorporate marijuana or marijuana concentrates into product formulations to yield marijuana-infused products.

Transporter License

This license type is issued to businesses for transporting cannabis and cannabis products for licensed cannabis businesses or licensed community colleges for the Community College Cannabis Vocational Training Pilot Program.

Community College Cannabis Vocational Pilot Program License

This license type allows Illinois community colleges to provide student instructions using marijuana plants. According to the provisions of Article 25 of the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, licensees may offer courses that allow participating students to study, work with, and grow marijuana plants.

Medical Cannabis Cultivation Center License

This license allows businesses to grow and transport cannabis for sale to licensed medical cannabis dispensing organizations. Illinois has a maximum of 21 of this license and has issued all of them.

Medical Cannabis Dispensing Organization License

This license type allows businesses to purchase cannabis from licensed medical cannabis cultivators and sell them to registered medical marijuana patients and caregivers. A medical cannabis dispensing organization licensee may also sell paraphernalia and educational materials to patients, caregivers, and Opioid Alternative Pilot Program (OAPP) participants.

Laboratory Testing License

This license type is issued to independent laboratories for testing cannabis and cannabis products intended for sale at dispensaries or use by licensed cannabis businesses. According to the provisions of Article 50 of the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, laboratory testing licensees cannot own or have an ownership interest in any other cannabis license category.

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Illinois Marijuana Licensing