On Saturday, May 4th, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker announced a plan to legalize cannabis for adult-use in the state, with sales scheduled to begin at the opening of 2020. The Chicago Tribune published a summary of the state’s approach to legalization containing additional details.
According to the summary, existing medical cannabis dispensaries – of which there are roughly 55 – and cultivators – of which there are 16 – could apply for adult-use licenses within 60 days of the law going into effect. Dispensaries will also be allowed to apply for a second license at a new location. As noted, sales to consumers would not begin until 2020.
Notably, new commercial cultivation licenses are not slated to be issued under the plan in its current form. Instead, the proposal calls for the issuance of up to 40 new licenses each for “craft growers” and processors in July 2020, followed by up to 60 more of each category to be awarded in December 2021. The document published by the Tribune did not detail the production capacity of craft growers, nor did it specify whether existing medical cannabis cultivators would be permitted to transfer inventory to their adult-use licenses.
A report on Illinois’ legalization plan from Marijuana Moment quotes Dan Linn, Executive Director for Illinois NORML, as stating that he is concerned about whether there will be adequate supply. Previously, Illinois lawmakers commissioned competing studies from consultants, with one asserting that the state’s current cultivation operations could meet projected adult-use demand, while the other came to the opposite conclusion.
This year has seen wholesale prices in Illinois rise to some of the highest in the country as the state’s medical program has experienced expansion and set new sales records.