Illinois Dispensary Laws

UPDATED JULY 28, 2021

On June 25, 2019, Illinois made history by becoming the 11th state to legalize recreational cannabis — and the first to do so through legislation rather than a ballot initiative. Under the state’s Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, recreational cannabis sales to adults aged 21 and older officially began on January 1, 2020.

The new law initially allowed 55 medical marijuana dispensaries, legal in the state since 2014, to apply for adult-use retail licenses, which would permit them to sell recreational cannabis from their medical dispensary locations. Additionally, these dispensaries may apply to open a second retail location.

The Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act provided for 75 legal licenses for recreational cannabis dispensaries in Illinois, but no licenses have been awarded so far. On July 15, 2021, HB 1443, which provides for a total of 110 additional social equity licenses in Illinois through two lotteries, was signed into law by the governor. The Department of Financial and Professional Regulation in Illinois announced that the lotteries to issue Conditional Adult Use Dispensing Organization Licenses for applications submitted between December 10, 2019, and January 2, 2020, will be held on July 29, August 5, and August 19, 2021.

Below, we’ve answered as many questions as possible regarding cannabis retail and dispensary laws in Illinois, and we will update this page regularly as new information becomes available. This page is informational only and should not be considered legal advice.

 Oklahoma Dispensary Laws / Washington Dispensary Laws / Colorado Dispensary Laws / California Dispensary Laws / Maine Dispensary Laws Missouri Dispensary Laws / Michigan Dispensary Laws / Illinois Dispensary Laws / Nevada Dispensary Laws / Montana Dispensary Laws / Alaska Dispensary Laws / New Jersey Dispensary Laws

Illinois Cannabis Laws

An overview of the medical and recreational marijuana laws in Illinois.

Who is able to purchase cannabis in Illinois?

Qualifying patients holding a valid Medical Cannabis Patient ID card and their registered caregivers may purchase medical marijuana in Illinois.

As of January 1, 2020, adults aged 21 and older may purchase recreational cannabis from licensed retailers in Illinois.

Are there qualifying conditions for medical marijuana patients?

Yes. The list of debilitating conditions that qualify for medical marijuana in Illinois can be found here on the Illinois Department of Public Health website.

Retail Cannabis Licensing in Illinois

Everything you need to know about opening a retail cannabis location in Illinois.

What state agency is in charge of cannabis licensing in Illinois?

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR).

What is the process for obtaining an adult-use dispensary license in Illinois?

Currently, the IDFPR is not accepting new applications for adult-use dispensing organization licenses. The first-round application window has closed, and the first 75 licenses are to be issued in the fall of 2020.

What are the application fees and licence costs for an adult-use cannabis retail license in Illinois?

For a regular (non-Social Equity) applicant, there is a non-refundable application fee of $5000. If approved, the cost for an Adult Use Dispensing Organization License is $60,000 for 2 years.

For applicants who meet the Social Equity criteria, the application fee is $2,500, and the cost of an approved 2-year license is $30,0000.

Illinois Dispensary Laws

Learn how to remain compliant with Illinois cannabis retail laws.

Where can a cannabis dispensary be located?

In order to ensure geographical dispersion of adult-use cannabis dispensaries, Illinois has divided the available 75 adult-use retail licenses among the 17 Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Regions within the state. This means that, if approved for an adult-use dispensary license, you must locate your dispensary within the BLS Region identified on your application.

Once approved for a license, you will have 180 days to identify a physical location for your retail storefront. The location must be suitable for public access; have a layout that promotes the safe dispensing of cannabis; and be sufficient in size, power allocation, lighting, parking, accessible parking spaces, accessible entry and exits as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act, product handling, and storage. Additionally, the location must not be within 1,500 feet of an existing dispensing location.

Early Approval Adult Use Dispensing Organization License holders opening their second site may locate it within any BLS Region that intersects with their medical cannabis dispensary’s Dispensing Organization District. The site may not be located within 1,500 feet of another adult-use dispensary.

What is required of a dispensing organization before selling cannabis?

Before selling any cannabis or cannabis products, dispensary staff must:

  • Verify the age of the purchaser by checking a valid government-issued ID card by use of an electronic scanner
  • Offer any appropriate purchaser education or support materials
  • Enter the required information into the state’s electronic verification system, including dispensary’s ID number, the dispensing agent’s ID number, the amount and type of cannabis or cannabis-infused product being sold, and the date and time of the sale

What are the purchase limits for recreational cannabis in Illinois?

Purchase and possession limits for recreational cannabis is slightly different for Illinois residents and non-residents.

For Illinois residents, it's 30 grams of cannabis flower, 5 grams of concentrate, or 500mg of THC for for infused products.

Non-residents can still purchase 15 grams of cannabis flower, 5 grams of concentrate, or 250mg of infused THC.

What are the purchase limits for medical marijuana patients?

Qualifying registered medical marijuana patients in Illinois may purchase up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis flower every 14 days. For concentrates, edibles, or other non-flower cannabis products, the pre-weight of the cannabis flower used to make the product counts toward the purchase limit.

What are dispensaries prohibited from selling?

Dispensaries cannot sell:

  • Any product containing alcohol except tinctures, which are limited to containers no larger than 100 milliliters
  • Clones or other live plant material
  • Cannabis, cannabis concentrate, or cannabis-infused products in combination or bundled with each other for one price

What taxes are collected on retail cannabis in Illinois?

Illinois is imposing a tiered tax rate on cannabis products, based on the THC content of the product. The tax rate for cannabis products is as follows:

    • 10 percent tax on cannabis flower or product containing less than 35 percent THC
    • 20 percent tax on all infused cannabis products, including edibles
    • 25 percent tax on any product with a THC concentration higher than 35 percent

Additionally, the regular state sales tax of 6.25 percent will apply, along with local taxes of up to 3.5 percent

What are the laws regarding cannabis advertising and promotion in Illinois?

Cannabis businesses in Illinois may not engage in advertising that:

  • Is false or misleading
  • Promotes overconsumption of cannabis
  • Depicts the actual consumption of cannabis
  • Makes any health, medicinal, or therapeutic claims about cannabis
  • Includes the image of a cannabis leaf or bud
  • Includes any image designed or likely to appeal to minors, including cartoons, toys, animals, or children

Additionally, no cannabis business may advertise cannabis or cannabis products in any form:

  • Within 1,000 feet of a school, playground, recreation center, child care center, public park or library, or game arcade which allows persons under the age of 21
  • On or in a public transit vehicle or public transit shelter
  • On or in publicly owned or publicly operated property

Cannabis businesses, including retailers, are also prohibited from promoting the sale of cannabis products by giving away cannabis or cannabis products, conducting games or competitions related to consumption, or by providing promotional materials or activities that would be appealing to children.

When are dispensaries allowed to operate?

Dispensaries may operate between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. Additionally, operation is prohibited under the following circumstances:

  • When video surveillance equipment is inoperative
  • When point-of-sale equipment is inoperative
  • When the state’s electronic verification system is inoperative
  • When there are fewer than two people working in the dispensary

Cannabis Tracking, Reporting, and Inventory Control in Illinois

Every regulated cannabis market has its own tracking and reporting requirements. Find out how Illinois will monitor commercial cannabis activity here.

What are the tracking and reporting requirements for Illinois cannabis retailers?

Illinois cannabis retailers must establish an account with the state’s verification system that documents:

  • Each sales transaction at the time of sale
  • Each day’s beginning and ending inventory
  • Acquisitions of cannabis and cannabis-infused products
  • Disposal of cannabis

What are the inventory control system requirements for cannabis retailers in Illinois?

Cannabis retailers in Illinois must have an inventory control and point of sale system that is real-time, web-based, and accessible by the state at any time. Additionally, retailers must conduct a daily inventory reconciliation, documenting and balancing cannabis inventory by confirming that the state’s verification system matches the dispensary’s point of sale system and the amount of physical product at the dispensary.

What is the official state cannabis verification system in Illinois?

BioTrackTHC provides statewide cannabis verification and monitoring in Illinois.

Is Cova compliant with Illinois' cannabis tracking, reporting, and inventory control requirements?

Yes. Cova’s dispensary point of sale and inventory management system includes all the features needed to keep Illinois dispensaries compliant, including:

  • Fully integrated inventory and sales tracking and reporting
  • Built-in product equivalency conversions and purchase limit enforcement
  • ID scanner for government-issued and patient ID card verification
ron-segev

RON SEGEV

Cannabis Business Lawyer & Founding Partner, Segev LLP

Legally reviewed by

RON SEGEV

Ron Segev is the founding partner of Segev LLP. A practical-minded business lawyer with expertise in the cannabis industry, he represents cultivators, dispensaries, CBD extractors, oil extractors, food processors, media and marketing companies, consultancies, and other businesses in the legal cannabis market.

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