September 6, 2020

There are currently 56 active marijuana businesses in Illinois, and cultivation centers are operating in 17 districts of the state. The legislature is far from finalized, as there is a clause that states that Illinois will either have to extend it or pass a new version by the end of 2018. With an estimated revenue of more than $225 million, the Illinois medical cannabis market seems like a lucrative opportunity for entrepreneurs.

Let’s look at the details regarding the licensing process, fees, and requirements for opening a marijuana dispensary in Illinois.

When was cannabis made legal

The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act (HB 1) was first enacted in 2013 in order to create a temporary cannabis distribution program for qualifying patients within the state.

HB 1 specifies 35 qualifying conditions but excludes chronic pain, the main reason to use medical cannabis for treatment around the world.

Illinois dispensaries green logo
When was cannabis made legal – Image powered by Marijuana.heraldtribune.com

It also allows patients to obtain up to 5 ounces of cannabis every month from one of the 60 dispensing organizations, that will be supplied by 22 cultivation centers (one per district).

Caregivers and patients are excluded from cultivation licensure. Public safety officials, minors, police and correctional officers, school bus and commercial drivers, firefighters, and anyone convicted of a drug-related felony are not eligible for the program.

Interesting fact; marijuana is not legal in Jamaica! Learn how rastafarians get to appreciate ganja in our free ebook


How many dispensaries are there currently in the state

The state law has provisions for up to 60 dispensary licenses on the condition that there are sufficient qualified and geographically dispersed applicants.

The first round of applications ended and the state has reviewed 214 medical cannabis dispensary applications. 56 applicants were issued a license and advanced to the registration stage. By November 9th, 2015, eight are currently in operation.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture has authorized cultivation centers to begin operating in 17 of the 22 districts.

How much money is there in the dispensary market

Potential profits of medical marijuana sales in Illinois are expected to reach $225,000,000 per year, while marijuana price per ounce will be around $325.

The patient base in the state of Illinois will reach 30,000, and each of them will be consuming around 23lbs. per year. In its first year of operation, the marijuana industry will create more than 1,500 jobs statewide.

Owner & License requirements

Requirements for prospective business owners are strict: Applicants must undergo fingerprint background check, disclosure any past bankruptcy, defaults on student loans, child support or alimony, and they must release full tax returns for previous years.

No medical marijuana licensing dates are forthcoming, although petitions to add debilitating medical conditions or diseases to the Illinois medical cannabis program are accepted from January 1 through January 31, and July 1 through July 31 each year.

Owner and License requirements
Owner and License requirements – Image powered by Lynda.com

There is a sunset clause (Section 220) in the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, ending the program by December 2018, unless Illinois chooses to extend it.

Financial requirements

Illinois is among the most expensive options for marijuana entrepreneurs. Most interested parties drop out when they learn the actual financial requirements.

The costs associated with the application for a dispensary in Illinois are:

  • Non-refundable application fee for a dispensary permit: $5,000
  • Once issued a permit, $30,000 permit fee for the first year
  • Annual permit renewal: $100,000
  • Applicants are required to demonstrate $400,000 in liquid assets and $50,000 in escrow

There are also some extra fees associated with the operation of the dispensary:

  • Dispensary Registration Renewal Fee= $25,000
  • Dispensing Agent Renewal Fee= $50
  • Dispensing Agent Identification card replacement Fee= $50
  • Dispensary Registration Replacement Fee= $50


Timeframe – Image powered by Iconfinder.com

It will take some time to open a dispensary in Illinois, even if you have the money. The process to get licensed has many steps, and when combined with the normal amount of time that it takes to start a business, it can take well over a year.

Links to consulting companies that can help open a marijuana dispensary in Illinois

Looking to start a marijuana dispensary in Illinois? The consulting firms provide numerous services – including helping with state licensing requirements and applications.

Marijuana stays in the news, and Alice is always ready to keep us updated. A world traveler and lover of freedom, Alice knows what is going on, no matter where she roams. She specializes in marijuana legalization stories across the globe, with up to date... [read more]

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  1. By SofaKing Hi ,12 May 2019
    This is really helpful...thanks
  2. By Trudy ,17 May 2019
    This is way to much money to start a dispensary! The rich will only get richer and the small business interest is dead in the water!!!! #DisappointedInIllinois
  3. By Rodney Thomas ,12 Jun 2019
    What if I only wanted to sell it in a store . I don't want to be a Grower
  4. By Bikal ,16 Jun 2019
    100,000 annual license fee? Really? That sounds far fetched
  5. By Wendy ,13 Oct 2019
    How do you think Quantum 9 services would cost for application writing
  6. By https://krasavits-a.tumblr.com ,17 Nov 2019
    I had developed to leave a comment, man do I've a difficult time writing a blog. Im wanting to kick start one on my website and I must say its not easy at all. I really do admire people like […]Read More
  7. By M taylor ,02 Jan 2020
    Who really believes this is an equitable proposition for black and brown people. They have already priced Dispensarys out of their reach. SMH
  8. By Lachelle ,13 Jan 2020
    How do you invest in the stock, and what are the names of the companies to invest in for Illinois marijuana.
  9. By Bess ,06 Mar 2020
    Great post! We are linking to this great content on our website. Keep up the great writing.

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