Illinois cannabis industry seeks end to MMJ-recreational retail relocation rule

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Cannabis industry insiders in Illinois are calling on state lawmakers to allow certain existing medical marijuana dispensaries to relocate without losing the ability to add an adult-use sales license.

Under the current administration’s interpretation of Illinois’ marijuana law, relocation prevents medical cannabis dispensaries from also having a recreational license at the same site.

Former Illinois state senator Pam Althoff, who is now executive director of the Cannabis Business Association of Illinois, told the Chicago Sun-Times that resolving the issue should be a priority, and she pointed out a benefit to state and local governments.

“Allowing dual licensees to move will not only increase tax revenues for the state and local municipalities but will permit the industry to hire more people and allow communities to maintain local control as to where in their community they wish these new cannabis operators to operate,” Althoff told the newspaper.

Pro-legalization lawmakers asked Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker last August to reconsider the interpretation of the law.

A response letter from Pritzker, posted to Illinois political news website Capitol Fax, said the administration’s interpretation of the law was meant to “balance … early growth for existing medical dispensaries with our commitment to bringing in new applicants through the social equity program.”

Illinois state representative Kelly Cassidy, a sponsor of the legalization law and a signatory of the letter to Pritzker, told the Sun-Times that it will take time to resolve the issue and noted that legislators could address it before the next session begins in January.