Illinois Marijuana Manufacturing License

Interested in starting a Cannabis business in Illinois?

Does Illinois Require a Marijuana Manufacturing License to Make Cannabis Products?

Any individual or entity that wishes to manufacture cannabis-infused products legally in Illinois must obtain an Infuser Organization license. Cannabis-infused products include food, beverages, oils, ointments, tinctures, topical formulations, and any other product containing cannabis that is not for smoking. The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (CRTA) legalized adult-use marijuana on January 1, 2020, and created different business licenses for entities involved in the program. An Illinois cannabis infuser organization license is issued by the Department of Agriculture upon the fulfillment of all statutory requirements. It allows licensees to infuse cannabis or cannabis concentrates into product recipes to produce cannabis-infused products. The CRTA made available a total of 100 infuser organization licenses for eligible residents in the state.

Statutorily, an infuser organization license only enables the license holder to possess the raw materials required for their products. The CRTA defines these as the extracts they infuse into their products. As such, infuser organizations can not grow cannabis flowers or extract concentrate from cannabis flowers. These processes require the ownership of a cultivation license. An infuser organization license does not allow the license holder to grow, transport, or sell cannabis to end-users. A cannabis infuser organization licensee sells their products directly to licensed dispensaries, though they can share facilities with a licensed craft grower or dispensary.

The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (CRTA) directed the Department of Agriculture (IDOA) to issue up to 40 licenses by July 1, 2020. However, the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects delayed the completion of this process. Applications for infuser organization licenses are to be opened between January 7 and March 15 every year. The IDOA is also directed to issue up to 60 additional licenses, though this figure can be increased at its discretion. In August 2021, the Department of Agriculture released a list of successful applicants for adult-use cannabis business licenses in Illinois.

Does Illinois Require Licensed Cannabis Manufacturers to Have Cultivation Licenses?

Infuser organization license holders in Illinois are not statutorily required to possess cultivation licenses. An infuser organization license only allows the holder to own raw materials needed for their products, and they can not carry or grow cannabis flowers. They must obtain their raw materials from licensed craft growers or cultivation centers in the state. The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (CRTA) allows an individual or entity to possess different types of cannabis business licenses. As a result, an individual or entity can own both license types and situate the businesses in the same facility.

How Does Illinois Classify Marijuana Manufacturing Licenses?

Illinois only issues one type of marijuana manufacturing license - the Infuser Organization license. This license enables the holder to manufacture cannabis-infused products by directly incorporating cannabis or cannabis concentrate into a product formulation. This license does not allow the holders to cultivate marijuana flowers or process them into other products, such as concentrates or hash.

What are the Different Types of Cannabis Manufacturing Licenses in Illinois?

There is only one form of cannabis manufacturing license issued in Illinois; the Illinois Cannabis Infuser Organization license. It enables the license holder to manufacture cannabis-infused products from cannabis extracts legally.

Does Illinois Require a Separate License to Manufacture Edibles?

In Illinois, an infuser organization licensee manufactures cannabis-infused foods and beverages (edibles), as well as, oils ointments, tinctures, and other topical formulations. Individuals and entities do not require a separate license to manufacture edibles in Illinois. However, cannabis-infused products, especially edibles, are highly regulated to prevent abuse by minors and maintain product safety and quality. All processing by infuser organizations must be conducted in compliance with applicable state and federal requirements, including processing, storage, security, recycling, and waste management. Processing must be done in an enclosed and locked facility approved during the licensing process. The facility can only be accessible to agents of the infuser, the Department of Agriculture (IDOA), and Department of Public Health (IDPH) staff for inspections. The facility may also be accessible to state and local law enforcement and other emergency personnel, as well as contractors working on non-cannabis-related jobs.

All edibles and other cannabis-infused products produced in Illinois must:

  • Be tested and certified by a state-licensed laboratory.
  • Be packaged and labeled to conform with the packaging and labeling standards mandated by the Illinois Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
  • Be prepared under the operational supervision of an IDPH-certified food sanitation manager.
  • Contain no more than 100mg of THC per package
  • Have allergy warnings

How to Get a Cannabis Manufacturing License in Illinois

To obtain an Illinois cannabis infuser license, the applicant must complete and submit a Cannabis Infuser application and exhibit form to the Department of Agriculture. The Department of Agriculture (IDOA) licenses all adult-use cannabis businesses in Illinois. There is a non-refundable $5,000 application fee, payable by cashier’s check or money order to the Department. When submitting the application, proof of payment must be included in the submission package. Residents of Illinois who qualify for social equity status receive a 50% discount on their application fees and only pay $2,500 as an application fee.

Applications for cannabis infuser licenses must be submitted on a USB drive, and applicants are required to submit five copies of their application. Two copies of the application should be redacted to exclude private information, and these drives should be externally labeled ‘R’. The other three copies should be left unredacted and labeled ‘UR’. Exhibits should be saved in separate files, which must be labeled and numbered. The number of pages in each Exhibit should also be indicated. The information the applicant gives in the application and the Exhibits should be anonymous unless otherwise required. The Exhibits to be included in a cannabis infuser license application in Illinois are:

A: Suitability of the Proposed Facility - 75 points

B: Suitability of Employee Training Plan - 50 points

C: Security Plan and Recordkeeping - 145 points

D: Cultivation Plan - 75 points

E: Product Safety and Labeling Plan - 95 points

F: Business Plan and Services Offered - 110 points

G: Social Equity Applicant - 200 points

H: Applicant’s Labor and Employment Practices - 20 points

I: Environmental Plan - 20 points

J: Illinois Resident Controlled or Owned - 90 points

K: Veteran Controlled and Owned - 20 points

L: Diversity Plan - 100 points

M: Bonus Section

N: Details of Ownership of Property

O: Zoning Notices

P: Organization Information and Disclosure of Financial Interests

Q: Disclosure Statement from Principal Officer or Board Member

R. Notarized Attestation

S: Fingerprint Consent Form

Applicants must receive at least 75% of the total number of points to qualify for a license. The optional bonus points will come into play if there is a tie in scoring. Successful applicants will be issued their licenses within 60 days of the IDOA receiving their applications.

Applications should be submitted in person, between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., at the Department at:

John R. Block Building

801 East Sangamon Avenue

Springfield, IL 62702

James R. Thompson Center

100 West Randolph Street

Chicago, IL 60601

Incomplete applications will be issued a deficiency notice that must be resolved in ten calendar days, or the application may be disqualified. Illinois cannabis infuser organization licenses expire after one year and must be renewed for the license holder to retain their statutory rights. A notification will be sent to license holders 90 days before their license expires, providing information and instructions on license renewals. Eligible applicants will be granted a renewal within 45 days of the Department receiving their application.

How Much Does a Cannabis Manufacturing License Cost in Illinois?

The Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (CRTA) mandates applicants for cannabis infuser organization licenses to pay a $5,000 non-refundable fee with their applications. Applicants should submit their completed forms and fees to the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA). State residents who qualify as social equity applicants are entitled to a discount of 50% and only pay $2,500. To qualify for social equity status, the person or entity must be resident in Illinois for at least five years. Also, they must satisfy at least one of the following:

  • At least 51% ownership control of the infuser license must be under one or more entities who:
    • have suffered incarceration or been adjudicated delinquent for an offense currently eligible for expungement under the CRTA or are members of an impacted family
    • have resided in a disproportionately impacted area for at least five of the last ten years; or
  • The applicant currently employs a minimum of ten full-time employees, 51% of which must:
  • currently reside in disproportionately impacted areas
  • have suffered incarceration or been adjudicated delinquent for an offense eligible for expungement under the CRTA or are members of an impacted family

Upon approval, applicants for an Illinois cannabis infuser license must pay a $5,000 fee before receiving their license (social equity licensees pay half of this amount). The CRTA mandates that cannabis infuser organization license renewals are done annually, or license holders will lose their statutory rights. Cannabis infuser organization license renewal costs $20,000, but the IDOA has a right to review it without recourse to anyone. To renew their licenses, license holders will need to establish:

  • The IDOA did not suspend or revoke their previous license
  • Compliance with the requirements of the IDOA
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Illinois Marijuana Manufacturing License