September 10, 2019

Existing Medical Cannabis Dispensaries in Illinois May Get Licenses to Sell at Existing Stores but Relocating to New Locations May Cause Legal Complications


Illinois’ adult-use legalization law calls for existing medical cannabis businesses to be licensed to serve general consumers by the beginning of 2020, an extremely quick turnaround time between the passage of legislation and the beginning of actual commerce. Now, Crain’s Chicago Business reports that unforeseen issues are arising that could complicate the rollout of the state’s adult-use industry.

Under Illinois’ adult-use cannabis law, the state’s medical cannabis dispensaries may apply for a license to sell to general consumers at their existing locations, as well as for an additional storefront. However, the Crain’s report notes that the law did not consider some shops attempting to move to new locations ahead of the opening of the adult-use market. Some companies are running into uncertain situations where local officials may or may not approve permits for new locations, while other municipalities are banning adult-use cannabis businesses altogether or do not yet have rules in place governing such commerce.

The Crain’s report quotes state Senator Heather Stearns, co-author of Illinois’ adult-use cannabis law, as saying that issues that have arisen since the passage of the original measure could be addressed in future legislation. However, it appears that much depends on local governments implementing ordinances to accommodate commercial cannabis activities. If they do not, or are slow to do so, it is possible that all 110 potential adult-use shops allowed under state law may not be open for business come the start of next year.

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