First licensed social equity craft marijuana grower opens in Illinois

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Star Buds IL became the first social equity craft marijuana grower to begin operations in Illinois.

The Rockford, Illinois, company, which is 66% Black-owned, on Monday also became the first “licensed predominantly Black-owned cannabis business” in the state, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The opening came after Star Buds IL was issued an operational permit by the state Department of Agriculture.

“This is the first of the 342 cannabis licensees issued by the Department in the last year to open their doors, and there are dozens more who will be joining them soon,” Jerry Costello II, director of the agriculture department, said in a news release.

Of the 48 craft grow licenses issued by the agriculture department in July 2022:

  • 42% (20) are majority Black-owned.
  • 36% (17) are majority white-owned.
  • 8% (4) are majority Hispanic-owned.
  • 8% are owned by a partnership group.

All the new licenses were issued to social equity applicants.

Social equity applicants are defined as individuals who live in so-called “disproportionately impacted areas.” That encompasses areas with high rates of poverty, joblessness, marijuana-related arrests and convictions.

The full list of craft grower licensees in Illinois is available on the department’s website.

Since 2021, the state has issued 88 craft grow licenses, 54 infuser licenses and 189 transporter licenses.

Those permits are in addition to the 21 existing cultivation centers previously approved under Illinois’ medical marijuana law.