1st Illinois Dispensaries Will Likely Launch in 2015

The first dispensaries in Illinois might not launch until well into next year, months later than many entrepreneurs envisioned after the state passed its medical marijuana law in 2013.

“It’s going to be spring or early next summer before patients have access to this medicine,” Ali Nagib of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML)  told a local TV station.

At this point, it appears that the first crop of cannabis businesses in the state will receive licenses in the fall or even winter. It will then take several more months for cultivators to produce the first harvest.

The state did not set an initial timeline for when dispensaries would open. Nagib said it became clear shortly after the law passed that dispensaries might not be able to open until 2015. But many observers still expected dispensaries to be up and running in Illinois sometime this year, even though it often takes longer than expected to get a regulatory framework in place.

Illinois has released draft rules (and already revised them) covering the industry and is now holding public hearings to discuss the proposed regulations. It will accept written comments through June 2.

Once it gets feedback from the public, officials must hammer out final rules and then launch the application process for business licenses, which will likely occur later this year. That process – including the vetting of applicants – could take several months to play out.

Illinois will license up to 60 dispensaries and 21 cultivation operations.

8 comments on “1st Illinois Dispensaries Will Likely Launch in 2015
  1. Michael Slawin on

    Despite wide-spread media reports, there will actually be 21 cultivation center permits/licenses awarded. The 22nd was deleted in the 2nd draft of proposed regulations published in April by the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

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  2. Ali Nagib on

    To put some context around my quote this timeline has not changed from what we expected when the bill passed, it’s just not what a lot of people were expecting. It still appears likely that these businesses will be licensed by the end of the year but due to the cultivation cycle actual medicine will not be accessible to patients until next year.

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  3. Avis Bulbulyan on

    People should expect at a minimum 5-6 months post license for the first dispensary to open and that’s assuming everything on the cultivation side goes smooth and assuming growers will have enough seeds/clones for the first harvest to be a full harvest.

    Reply
  4. D.M.S on

    Mr. Slawin is correct, the site removed was the Des Plaines HQ, whom serve the highway and tollways of Chicago metro only. What is in question and will have the greatest impact upon timelines is the application availability date, the submission window(s), and the review period(s). There are various approaches which potential dispensary and cultivation applicants can, will, and are utilizing to provide the greatest efficiency, and 120 days from approval and registration is a reasonable target.

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  5. Van McConnon on

    There are multiple cultivation applicants in Illinois with quick start programs that will have product on the shelf 120 days after they obtain their license. We need to have the IL agencies have the same sense of urgency. Families are moving to Colorado to obtain high CBD strains for various seizure disorders and there is not enough High CBD medicine yet. The state of Illinois needs to start a propagation center today to accelerate the start of the program. The IL Department of Ag is considering it; they should do it. Get the R4s, Tsunamis and Charlotte’s Webb to the kids now! Non-pschoactive medicine that works.

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  6. Avis Bulbulyan on

    Obviously the sooner the better but I think 120 days is really pushing it. That would be reasonable to expect if construction and building permits weren’t an issue. Add the fact that you’re dealing with large commercial operations and 120 days just isn’t enough. There’s a lot that goes on after winners are announced. Just my 2 cents and experience.

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  7. Perry Burrows on

    The state is playing with the weed law, its giving false hope to disabled people. There is no good reason for the government to delay this. We are into the first year and the government is sitting on their hands. We who suffer pain daily, need this to work, not be another government law that has no meaning.

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  8. D.M.S on

    There are endless variables involved in establishing such projections which carry, to date, uncertain timelines and virtually limitless possibilities and will further vary from principal to principal, site to site, facility to facility, location to location, and so on. Each and every unique with different timelines in and of themselves. Breaking ground upon approval for a new facility to turnkey as compared to the conversion and build out of an existing property, which would then carry all the way through, as above, to issues such as permits, which may very well further vary when addressing the support and cooperation of facilities locale, as well as preparation, through initial partial build outs to accommodate immediate production, which many seem to be considering and addressing and some even underway pre application as we speak, all the way through the timeframes for patient counts to reach any significant number supporting any number of supply and demand targets and specifics, to IL MCPP nuances, all of which are rarely addressed in a limited format such as the pieces the media presents. Many have overlooked, to date, Illinois has actually been ahead of schedule for the initial timelines set forth. As with any and every operation worldwide to date, each and every facility will perform different, including timelines, with each only as capable and efficient as their weakness’s throughout, and during the process. These matters actually address the capabilities and risk tolerance of specific groups, as well as project management ability much more than they address simple operational and regulatory limitations.

    Reply

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