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What marijuana/cannabis businesses can you start in Illinois?

Under the new regulations, enacted as of June 25, 2019, Illinois will open its doors for recreational marijuana businesses starting January 1, 2020. The regulations of this measure have provisions for these cannabis businesses:

    • Marijuana Dispensary
    • Marijuana Cultivation (Craft Growers & Cultivation Centers)
    • Marijuana Processors
    • Marijuana Transporters

Currently, you cannot get licensed for the above businesses until the state establishes an application process. Here is the timeline for that process:

  • In January 1, 2020, adult-marijuana sales will begin. Existing medical cannabis cultivators and dispensaries can cultivate and provide to adult consumers until additional licensees can apply and be approved.
  • In January 7, 2020, applications for processors, transporters, and a new category of cultivator called “craft growers” would be released for business applicants. 
  • In March 15, 2020, the state will begin accepting and processing new license applications.
  • In May 1, 2020, new dispensaries licenses issued, and the state begins a disparity and market study of the cannabis industry.
  • In July 1, 2020, up to 40 craft grower and processor licenses will be issued, along with an unlimited number of transporter licenses.

Even though you cannot apply for a marijuana business license right now, there’s a lot to prepare - see below for details.

Not Sure How To Get Started?

You need to be taking care of a bunch of critical pieces right now in order to be ready for licensing. Grab our Starter Package for insider details about everything you should be doing at this very moment to ensure success of being issued a license that no one will tell you about.

What can I do right now?

To be prepared for when the state will start licensing marijuana businesses, you should:

  • Read through the regulations
  • Grab our Starter Package to get a detailed rundown of everything you need to know and do right now to get your business going and prepared for licensing.
  • You'll need a business plan for licensing and even more so if you'll be seeking financing and investors or partners. See our Marijuana Company Business Plans page for details and get a business plan to fit your needs.

How To Open a Dispensary in Illinois

The state allows potential business owners to open a dispensary in Illinois. Whether this is possible or not will hinge entirely on the city and/or county of choice, as the state allows the local municipalities to ban or place moratoriums on whether to license dispensaries for operation or not.

  1. Read through our Starter Package to figure out what your city will require for licensing and the boatload of other to-do items to have in place prior to submitting your application for licensing. 
  2. Setup your Marijuana Business Corporate Structure.
  3. Create your Marijuana Business Plan
  4. Acquire the necessary licenses to operate your dispensary and be completely legal and compliant.
  5. Install the operational infrastructure to be in accordance with all regulations and then open your doors for business.
  6. Contract with cultivators and/or edible/extraction/infused products processors  to grow and produce marijuana products for you, also with transporters in transporting products to other establishments, if you don't want to do it yourself.

How To Grow Marijuana in Illinois

Same as Dispensary steps, the only difference is that you may be contracting with dispensaries, transporters, and processors to grow marijuana for them.

How To Start a Marijuana Processor Business in Illinois

Same as Dispensary steps, the only difference is that you may be contracting with dispensaries, transporters, and cultivators to process marijuana for them.

How To Start a Marijuana Transporter Business in Illinois

Same as Dispensary steps, the only difference is that you may be contracting with dispensaries, cultivators, and processors to transport marijuana for them.

The latest marijuana industry news, laws, & frequently asked questions for Illinois.