Illinois issues 185 new recreational marijuana retail licenses

Be at the forefront of cannabis and psychedelics science and innovation. Register by March 14 & Save $100 on tickets to The Emerald Conference by MJBiz Science, April 1-3 in San Diego.

Illinois regulators on Friday announced tentative winners for 185 new recreational marijuana retail permits.

The licenses, awarded by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR), mean that the marijuana retail market in the state will more than double, since there are only 110 adult-use shops in operation.

Still, the new licenses are only conditional, and the winners aren’t yet fully approved to begin sales, according to a statement from the IDFPR.

The conditional licensing status, rather, allows those 185 winners to being building out their shops in anticipation of eventually getting the green light from regulators to begin sales.

The licensees have 180 days to gain that approval from the IDFPR, the agency stated, and during that time must, among other things:

  • Choose locations for their stores.
  • Send floor plans to the agency for approval.
  • Submit principal officer fingerprints to the state for records.
  • Pay licensing fees.

Business leaders need reliable industry data and in-depth analysis to make smart investments and informed decisions in these uncertain economic times.

Get your 2023 MJBiz Factbook now!

Featured Inside:
  • 200+ pages and 50 charts with key data points
  • State-by-state guide to regulations, taxes & opportunities
  • Segmented research reports for the marijuana + hemp industries
  • Accurate financial forecasts + investment trends


Stay ahead of the curve and avoid costly missteps in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry.

The 185 licenses have been in limbo since August 2021 because of a court order that initially prevented the state from awarding the permits.

But that order was rescinded in May by a different judge, who ruled that the licensing process can move forward.