Illinois governor touts deal on adult-use cannabis legalization plan

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Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker unveiled a recreational marijuana legalization plan that would create a variety of MJ business opportunities but would restrict the number of cultivation facilities and dispensaries one entity could own.

In addition, the initial two licensing rounds call for the state to grant cultivation licenses to “craft” growers rather than large commercial growers.

Pritzker, a Democrat, said key lawmakers agreed on a plan to legalize adult-use marijuana starting Jan. 1, 2020, according to the Chicago Tribune.

But the proposal also faces vocal opposition.

Illinois, which has a population of nearly 13 million, would become the biggest Midwestern state to legalize recreational marijuana, ahead of Michigan.

Following are key elements to the proposal:

  • Licenses would become available for cultivation facilities, craft growers, processors, stores (called dispensing organizations) and transporters.
  • In the first wave in mid-2020, the state would award licenses for up to 75 stores, 40 processors and 40 craft growers.
  • In a second wave in December 2021, the state could issue licenses for 110 stores, 60 craft growers and 60 processors.
  • No entity or individual could hold an interest in more than three cultivation centers or 10 stores.
  • Consumers would pay a 10% retail tax for cannabis with a THC level at or below 35% as well as a 20% tax for cannabis-infused products. Growers and processors would pay a 7% tax to retailers.
  • A $20 million, low-interest loan program would be developed to focus on “social equity,” or diversifying ownership.