Illinois releases social equity map for adult-use marijuana licensing

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Illinois officials identified areas where applicants who want to legally grow and sell recreational cannabis would get preference under the law’s social equity provision, one that some believe could become a national blueprint for other MJ programs.

The map was released on the eve of the state making applications available for up to 75 rec MJ store licenses.

Marijuana Business Daily projects that the Illinois market will generate $2 billion-$2.5 billion a year in sales when it matures.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration released a map Monday showing 683 Census tracts considered “disproportionately impacted” by past marijuana enforcement.

Two million people live in these areas that had higher-than-typical rates of arrests, conviction and incarceration for marijuana, along with poverty.

Applicants with majority ownership of the proposed enterprise who have lived in one of these areas for five of the past 10 years, or have been arrested for certain marijuana offenses, will get additional points when their applications are scored.

The state’s rec MJ program is scheduled to launch Jan. 1, but it’s unclear how much product will be immediately available.

Existing medical cannabis operators will get first crack at the market.

The state started licensing those operators in late August for recreational marijuana, and has given some the go-ahead to begin growing cannabis for the adult-use market.

To see the map of the social equity areas, click here.

For more information on the social equity program and its requirements, click here.

– Associated Press and Marijuana Business Daily