Update: Illinois Governor Signs MMJ Bill, Creating Hundreds of Business Opportunities

Note: This is an updated version of a story that first ran Wednesday

Welcome to the medical marijuana club, Illinois.

State Gov. Pat Quinn (pictured) signed a medical cannabis bill into law this afternoon, just days before his deadline to make a decision on the measure.

“After months of anticipation, we are very glad the governor is taking this important step for Illinoisans,” said Chris Lindsey, a legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project, a lobbying group for cannabis reform. “Several state agencies will have four months to adopt regulations that will provide the road map for producers, marijuana-infused product providers and dispensaries. We look forward to watching that process unfold.”

The measure will provide a huge boost to the national medical marijuana industry and pave the way for hundreds of new business opportunities in everything from cannabis cultivation and sales to testing and ancillary services. The bill calls for a four-year pilot program that allows up to 60 dispensaries and nearly two dozen cultivation centers to open up shop across the state, which will make Illinois a powerful player in the cannabis industry with tens of millions of dollars in annual sales.

The list of qualifying medical conditions is somewhat extensive, including 33 ailments such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma and residual limb pain. The bill, however, does not allow patients with general catch-all conditions such as “chronic pain” to receive medical marijuana cards, meaning the market will be much smaller than in states with more liberal rules like California and Colorado. Still, tens of thousands of patients will likely get cards, creating a sizable customer base. Card-holders also can get up to 2.5 ounces every two weeks, a generous amount that will further fuel sales. (You can read the bill in its entirety here.)

There’s a big caveat though: Lawmakers could decide to shut down the whole program after four years, so there will be a big question mark surrounding the long-term viability of the state’s medical marijuana industry.

Optimism in MMJ circles about the Illinois market is running high. Several cannabis organizations and companies from other states have already scheduled business and legal seminars for entrepreneurs in Illinois, an others are making plans to enter the market.

The new law will take effect Jan. 1, though dispensaries likely wouldn’t open until later in the year.

Twenty other states have passed bills that legalize medical marijuana to some degree, including New Hampshire this month and Maryland earlier this year.

2 comments on “Update: Illinois Governor Signs MMJ Bill, Creating Hundreds of Business Opportunities
  1. Chris Lindsey on

    The four month agency rule-writing process does not actually start until the law is in effect on Jan 1, but one of the agencies indicated today they would likely start that process early.

    Reply
  2. flag flagit on

    thanks chris, thats good to know. im sure everyone is busy until then cracking heads over the pension issue. thanks to the author for posting a link to the bill. most comments to articles i have read, ask for a link to the approved conditions. not being able to use a search engine, is sadly, not a listed condition. included in the text it explains that the cultivation centers will be required to have their own testing equipment. this was an attempt to prevent the feds from shutting down a centralized facility, bringing the process to a grinding halt. so, im not sure whos going to be paid to do that outside the cultivation centers. the number of cult centers, 22, one for each isp headquarters district. 60 dispensary, the number of senatorial districts. did you pay off YOUR senator? where is blago when you actually need him…oh, yea. its interesting you mention companies from other states are setting up seminars. let the looting begin! whats the difference? there is no difference between a company incorporated in another state, and the pipelines that currently exist from michigan, mexico, canada, and the entity know as cali-ore-wash-arado…draining the wealth from illiois. it will take years to break those black market networks as they will have plenty of market share. and what after that? market share controlled by out of state interests. with lisa madigans attack on ccw, look for her to follow utah, and revoke those license for cannabis card holders, right along with your illinois exclusive f.o.i.d. card. yea, we finally get weed-maps, but it comes with weed-blocks. you know how illinois loves their dui and safety checkpoints. they will have to triple up, to stay ahead of this new scourge unleashed upon the roadways of illinois. no employee of a dispensary shall be a cannabis card holder. thats right. dont plan on doing anything other than reading a description. 24/7 live streaming hd video. christ! has this madness no end? not asking for much are they, hey why dotn we pony up some extra cash so you can pay people to watch that video 24/7. yea, watch the plants grow. 24/7 armed security. no, thats not expensive either. watch these screw-ups thrash this like they currently do to the bars and how they did the video gambling and the tobacco tax. i hate to sound like a hateful sarcastic twerp, but people need to understand what a horrible, horrible state this is to live in where politicians we elected sue each other, because they didnt get paid, because the didnt fix, the 100 billion $ pension deficit….rather than fix the 100 billion $ pension deficit. my fingers hurt.

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