Applications for Illinois Adult Use dispensaries are now available.

Licenses for craft grow, infusing, and transportation will be available on or before January 7, 2020, and will be made available by the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

By May 1st, the state is expecting to issue up to 75 new dispensary licenses.


How Do I Apply for a Cannabis Social Equity Loan to Open a Dispensary?


Early Approval Adult Use Licenses for Current Dispensing Organizations

Information related to early approval adult-use licenses for current dispensing organizations can be found here.

While anyone can technically apply to open a store, applicants must pay a non-refundable $5,000 fee to apply. This fee is cut in half for those who qualify under a social equity applicant status.


The licenses are primarily going to areas in the Cook, Lake, DuPage, Kendall, Will, Kane, Grundy and McHenry counties, while the rest of the counties around the state are given a smaller number of licenses available.


Adult Use Licenses for NEW Dispensing Organizations

Information related to adult-use licenses for new dispensing organizations can be found here.

These licenses available are in addition to the 55 current medical dispensaries that are already operating in the state of Illinois. These medical shops will be the first to sell adult-use cannabis, but given the regulatory issues that are arising, it is unclear whether dispensaries will be ready in time to open and sell by January 1st, 2020.

Nevertheless, those who either lived in areas disproportionately affected by the war on drugs, and those who have had previous cannabis related offenses are encouraged to apply. The applications can reportedly be submitted starting Tuesday, December 10th, and are due by Thursday, January 2nd, 2020.


The application released Oct. 1, according to the Patch, requires aspiring cannabis businesses to submit records of ownership and management structure, plans for training, education, environment, businesses, security, operation, recall, record-keeping, community engagement and diversity. They must also submit a floor plan, although no extra points will be given to applicants that have already secured a location.


The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation will be ranking applications against each other to determine who gets the first 75 licenses. In the case of a tie, the applicant with the best community engagement plan will get the license.


“As Illinois enters the next phase of its adult use cannabis program, we are committed to a process that is efficient, timely and most critically, continues to place equity at the forefront,” said Governor JB Pritzker in a release. “From ensuring social equity applicants receive points on their application to providing grants and technical assistance, this is a process that does more than any other state in the nation to make equity a priority.”

What about Cannabis Consumers?

Information related to Illinois cannabis consumers can be found on the FAQ below.

Information for Dispensary Agents

Information related to Illinois cannabis dispensary agents can be found on the FAQ below.

Information for Vendor Training Organizations

Information related to Illinois Responsible Vendor Training Organizations can be found on the FAQ below.

For more information, or inquiries, contact the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.


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Author: Abraham Villegas

Abraham Villegas operates the Medical Cannabis Community, a digital media company focused on empowering people to connect through advocacy, education, and community-based action. He also operates AV Social Strategies, Inc. a digital marketing agency where he regularly consults with brands in the cannabis/hemp/CBD industry on Web development, social media, advertising, and SEO.

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