How to Start a Marijuana Delivery Service in Illinois

Illinois’ medical marijuana business is highly active, what with its 56 marijuana-related businesses and 17 districts that have operational cultivation centers. The program is somewhat in limbo, however, since the law includes an additional clause that says that, at or before the end of the year 2018, the program will need to either be officially extended or have a new version for implementation.

Illinois is an excellent place for marijuana entrepreneurs to start their business, especially given the fact that the revenue is around $225 million or more. There are some important rules, fees, and process requirements that potential business owners need to be aware of. When it comes to medical marijuana delivery, for example, only licensed dispensaries are able to carry them out to registered patients. In other words, you will have to open a dispensary in order to deliver any marijuana. Continue reading for more information.

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    Medical marijuana was first made legal in 2013, when the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act (House Bill 1) was passed. It was designed so that patients with qualifying conditions could access the medical marijuana that would help ease their symptoms.

    The Pilot Program Act recognizes 35 qualifying conditions, but, strangely enough, still excludes chronic pain, the leading indication for use of medical cannabis worldwide.

    When was cannabis made legal
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    With this act, patients can get 5 ounces or less of marijuana every month. They have to get it from registered and licensed dispensaries (around 60 are currently operational in the state), and the marijuana needs to be sourced from one of nearly two dozen cultivation centers in Illinois. Patients may have the marijuana delivered to them, as long as the dispensary is the one delivering and the patient is licensed and registered (as with any time someone wants to acquire marijuana in Illinois).

    Patients and caregivers aren’t allowed to grow marijuana at home. People with certain professions may not join the medical marijuana program. These professions include firefighters, correctional officers and police officers, drivers of school buses or commercial vehicles, and public safety officials. Minors and someone with a drug felony in their past also may not participate in the medical marijuana program.

    The law has a sunset clause that means the legislature will have to extend it or pass a new law by December 31, 2018.

    How many marijuana businesses are there currently in the state

    60 dispensaries are allowed to be running in the state, as long as they meet the required qualifications. The first round of applications is already over. 214 potential medical dispensaries applied, and 56 were awarded licenses and allowed to register. Eight were operating by the end of 2015.

    Cultivation centers are also in operation, with 17 of 22 districts having theirs up and running by now.

    How much money is there in the marijuana market

    How much money is there in the marijuana market
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    The medical marijuana market is big in Illinois. Potential profits could get to around $225,000,000 every year, what with the price of marijuana ($325 per ounce).

    There should be around 30,000 registered patients in Illinois, and the average consumption of one patient is 23 pounds of marijuana every year. More than 1,500 jobs are expected to be generated by the presence of the medical marijuana industry in Illinois.

    Owner & License requirements

    Applicants for medical marijuana dispensaries should be prepared for the stringent application process. A background check with fingerprints will be done, and applicants must release their past bankruptcy history, student loan defaults, any alimony or child support, and tax returns for years previous.

    One individual cannot have more than three cultivation permits. They also may not be involved in more than three as a member, shareholder, director, partner, officer, or owner.

    At the moment, the licensing window is closed. It is not currently known when further licensing dates will take place. Concerned citizens may submit their petitions for adding certain medical conditions or other diseases to the list of qualifying conditions. The Illinois Medical Cannabis Program accepts such petitions every January and July.

    Of course, by the end of 2018 changes may be occurring, since the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act’s sunset clause in section 220 declares that the program will end in December 2018 unless it is officially extended or updated. Stay informed to see what changes you can expect as a potential business owner.

    Financial requirements

    Potential marijuana business owners in Illinois should not apply for a dispensary license unless they are absolutely certain they can meet the qualifications. This is because some of the highest expenses come for the medical marijuana industry in Illinois. Some apply, realize how much it will cost, and then give up.

    Financial requirements
    Financial requirements

    The main costs include:

    • $5,000 application fee (non-refundable)
    • $30,000 permit fee (first year)
    • $100,000 permit renewal fee (every year after that)
      proof of $400,000 in liquid assets plus $500,000 in escrow
    • $25,000 dispensary registration renewal fee
    • $50 dispensing agent renewal fee
    • $50 dispensing agent replacement of identification card fee
    • $50 replacement fee for dispensary registration replacement


    The time frame varies greatly when it comes to how long it will take to get a cannabis business up and running. It’s a good idea to allow at least a year to get finances in order, acquire necessary licenses, get suppliers and employees lined up, etc.

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      Looking to start a marijuana dispensary with delivery in Illinois? The consulting companies listed below provide a wide range of services from helping with state licensing requirements and applications to running and stocking your business.

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