Illinois diversifies its cannabis industry

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Illinois granted 48 new home-grown cannabis licenses last week, continuing the slow progress of expanding and diversifying its cannabis sector, which sold $1.4 billion in 2021.

20 of these new licenses are majority-owned by blacks, 17 by whites and 4 by Hispanics, with the rest being held by a group of people or without specific information.

All new licensees qualify as social equity seekers, which means they live in areas of high poverty, face frequent cannabis-related arrests, or members of their immediate family have a minor cannabis-related criminal record or that more than half of their employees meet these criteria.

Companies that have been awarded a license can now obtain funding to pursue their project and acquire their growing space, hire employees or even buy equipment.

“This is really good news,” attorney Don Craven, who represents several licensed companies, told the Chicago Tribune. “It adds a level of certainty that they didn’t have before.”

Many growers expect it to take 6 months to 1 year to open, at a minimum. Of the first batch of 40 craft cultivation licenses authorized in 2021, only 3 have recently received permits to begin construction.

With these 48 new licenses, almost half of the 341 growers, transport companies and artisanal processorsedibles above all) authorized by the State Department of Agriculture are companies with a majority of diversity.

Illinois law limits craft growers to 450 square meters of grow space, a fraction of the original 20,000 square feet of grow space allowed for the original grow licenses.

The artisanal growers hope that the new legislation will increase their size limit, which would also make it easier to obtain financing, the yield was mechanically better with a larger area.

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