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

Is Cannabis Cultivation Legal in Winnebago County?

Yes, although Winnebago County only allows the home cultivation of marijuana for registered qualifying patients and not for adult recreational use. Following Article 10 of Illinois’ Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (410 ILCS 705), anyone registered in the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program Act (410 ILCS 130) may purchase marijuana seeds from licensed dispensaries and grow five plants per household. Cultivation may only be indoors in the patient’s residence in an enclosed, locked space to prevent unauthorized access.

Commercially, cultivation centers and craft growers are licensed by the Department of Agriculture to cultivate marijuana for adult and medical use. Cultivation centers may cultivate, process, transport, and perform other activities to provide cannabis and cannabis-infused products to other cannabis establishments. Meanwhile, craft growers are licensed to cultivate, dry, cure, and package marijuana to make it available for sale at a dispensary or use at a processing organization. A craft grower can have up to 5,000 square feet of canopy space for plants in the flowering stage on their property. This may be increased to 14,000 square feet, depending on the department’s evaluation.

All establishments involved with marijuana cultivation should have prior experience with agricultural or horticultural product cultivation and business operations. These establishments are not allowed to be located and operate within 1,000 feet of school grounds, playgrounds, recreation facilities, child care centers, public parks, public libraries, or other publicly-owned properties.

Is Cannabis Manufacturing Legal in Winnebago County?

Winnebago County permits the manufacturing of cannabis-infused products by licensed cultivation centers. In line with 410 ILCS 705 and 410 ILCS 130, establishments involved with marijuana manufacturing must comply with the following:

  • Products requiring special storage conditions should not be manufactured and sold to avoid potential food-borne illnesses.

  • Medical cannabis-infused products should be individually packaged and labeled following the Illinois Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

  • All products for sale should be packaged in a sealed, odor-proof, and child-resistant container compliant with the Poison Prevention Packaging Act.

  • Packaging must not contain any information and design that are false or misleading, promoting excessive consumption, or appealing to minors.

A Department of Public Health-Certified Food Service Sanitation Manager supervises establishments manufacturing cannabis-infused products for sale or distribution at a dispensary. All cannabis products for sale should be registered with the Department of Agriculture.

Is Cannabis Retail Legal in Winnebago County?

Cannabis retail is legal in Winnebago County, with 410 ILCS 705 and 410 ILCS 130 allowing the licensing of dispensing organizations. These dispensaries offer several products to adults aged 21 and above, registered qualifying patients, and their caregivers. Edibles, oils, tinctures, topicals, inhalers, patches, and concentrates may be purchased from licensed dispensaries. These establishments may not manufacture, process, or produce any cannabis products.

Qualifying patients may possess 2.5 ounces of usable medical cannabis for 14 days. However, this may be increased depending on the Department of Health’s approval of a patient’s waiver as supported by a certifying health professional.

For adult use, Winnebago County residents at least 21 years old may possess 30 grams of cannabis flower, a cannabis-infused product with less than or equal to 500 milligrams of THC, and 5 grams of cannabis concentrate. Meanwhile, non-Illinois residents are allowed to possess a total of 15 grams of cannabis flower, a cannabis-infused product with less than or equal to 250 milligrams of THC, and 2.5 grams of cannabis concentrate.

Is Cannabis Delivery Legal in Winnebago County?

Section 5 of Illinois’ Cannabis Control Act (720 ILCS 550) prohibits the delivery of cannabis, whether for medical or recreational adult use. This means that medical marijuana cardholders and recreational users may only purchase cannabis and cannabis-infused products in licensed dispensaries throughout Winnebago County.

However, transporting organizations are licensed by the Department of Agriculture to transport cannabis to and from licensed cultivation centers, craft growers, infusers, testing facilities, and dispensing organizations. As a general rule, all products to be transported must be stored in sealed containers with an appropriate label.

How to Get Medical Marijuana Card in Winnebago County

Winnebago County residents may qualify for a medical marijuana card through Illinois’ Medical Cannabis Patient Program. Residents may be able to apply if they have one or more of the following debilitating conditions, as certified by a physician: autism, Alzheimer’s disease, HIV/AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, anorexia nervosa, Arnold-Chiari malformation, cancer, cachexia/wasting syndrome, causalgia, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, chronic pain, Crohn’s disease, complex regional pain syndrome, dystonia, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, fibrous dysplasia, glaucoma, hepatitis C, hydrocephalus, hydromyelia, interstitial cystitis, irritable bowel syndrome, lupus, migraines, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, myasthenia gravis, myoclonus, nail-patella syndrome, Neuro-Bechet’s autoimmune disease, neurofibromatosis, neuropathy, osteoarthritis, Parkinson’s disease, polycystic kidney disease, post-concussion syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, reflex sympathetic dystrophy, residual limb pain, rheumatoid arthritis, seizures, severe fibromyalgia, Sjogren’s syndrome, spinal cord disease, spinal cord injury, spinocerebellar ataxia, superior canal dehiscence syndrome, syringomyelia, Tarlov cysts, Tourette syndrome, traumatic brain injury, and ulcerative colitis.

Application may only be completed online after securing a certification. Medical marijuana cards may be printed from the patient’s online account since the state no longer provides plastic cards. They may also opt to present a digital copy of their cards through their mobile phones with valid proof of identification.

For inquiries, the Medical Cannabis Patient Program may be reached every Monday to Friday from 9 AM to 4 PM through or 1-855-636-3688.

How Has Cannabis Legalization Impacted the Economy of Winnebago County?

Winnebago County imposes the following tax on cannabis sales following 410 ILS 130:

  • Cultivation privilege tax: 7% of gross receipts of craft growers and cultivation centers

  • Purchaser excise tax: 25% of the price of cannabis with more than 35% THC

  • Purchaser excise tax: 20% of the price of all cannabis-infused goods

  • Purchaser excise tax of 10% of the price of cannabis with 35% THC or less

  • Optional Municipal Cannabis Retailers’ Occupation Tax: 3% of gross sales of cannabis retail businesses

  • Optional County Retailers’ Occupation Tax: 3.75% of gross sales in unincorporated areas, 3% of gross sales in any municipality in a home-rule county, or 0.75% of gross sales in any municipality in a non-home-rule county.

The legalization of medical and adult use of marijuana significantly contributed to Illinois’ economic growth. As of July 2022, cannabis tax disbursements in the fiscal year 2022 had a 77% growth from the 2021 ($82.8 million to $146.2 million). Of this, 25% will be used to support economically struggling communities with high rates of violence and disproportionately affected by drug criminalization.

The Effects of Cannabis Legalization on Crime Rates in Winnebago County

Winnebago County permitted the medical and recreational use of marijuana after Illinois legalized its use in 2013 and 2020, respectively. According to a 2020 report by the Center for Criminal Justice Research, Policy, and Practice, a significant decrease (45%) in arrests for violations of the Cannabis Control Act was observed in Winnebago County. Moreover, Winnebago County Sheriff's Office reported a decreasing trend in the county’s crime index in 2021.

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