State Awarding More New Dispensary Licenses This Week – At Least One Coming to West Central IL

By Benjamin Cox on August 3, 2021 at 8:48am

The State of Illinois is set to award 55 new adult use cannabis dispensary licenses this week, and one could possibly be coming to West Central Illinois.

The Illinois General Assembly passed a trailer bill to its landmark cannabis legislation bill this past Spring to correct ways the state fell short in awarding the licenses that represented equity.

Executive Director of the Cannabis Business Association of Illinois Pamela Althoff says that local governments in the area need to publicize that they want a cannabis business in their community: “The Cannabis Business Association has developed a website page, which is visited by people interested in the industry or applicants that have applied to be included in these lotteries, of cannabis-friendly communities. I certainly would hope that [the] area has contacted us and their information is on that webpage. If not, they should do that because, we send our members as well as our potential members to this website and say ‘If you are looking for a location’ and dispensary entities have not had to designate an area, so they are still going to be looking for sites, we send them to our cannabis-friendly website page and say: ‘Go to communities that want you.'”

Springfield received its first black-owned dispensary licensee on Thursday, the first of three coming to both Sangamon and Menard counties. Three additional licenses will be granted for a west-central Illinois region that includes the counties of Christian, Logan, Mason, Montgomery, Morgan and Schuyler with another three licenses going to a multi-county region of Illinois near St. Louis that includes Macoupin, Greene, and Jersey counties on Thursday.

Althoff says communities who want a dispensary can also visit the state’s website of the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation and look up contact information for the licensee and begin courting their business: “As those licenses are awarded, interested communities should go on the Illinois Department of Finance and Professional Regulation’s website, discover who they are in their BLS, and reach out to them and say ‘We’re open for business. We want you. We are going to be good community partners together.’ I’m very positive that would be received with a great deal of joy on the part of new license holders. They are looking for opportunities to get through zoning and get through that [local] government approval process rather quickly.”

Althoff says that most of the larger suppliers for adult use cannabis have more product at this moment than can go on the shelf in dispensaries that are currently in operation. She says the ramp up in production was in anticipation of the awarding of the new licenses this year. She says that craft grow licenses have been awarded, and that the awardees will begin their start up over the next 6 months.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture yesterday issued 32 initial craft grow, 28 infuser, and 9 transporter licenses yesterday. More licenses are expected to be issued by IDOA in the coming weeks as they have provided an extension for some applicants to complete further necessary paperwork. IDOA says that 83% of the applicants in this round were Social Equity applicants, with 67% ownership of this licenses identifying as nonwhite. 60 more craft grow and 60 more infuser licenses are expected to be awarded in the state by the end of the year.