Illinois awarded its first licenses to businesses that can sell recreational cannabis when it becomes legal in the state next year.
State regulators announced the five medical marijuana dispensaries where residents will be able to buy small amounts of recreational marijuana products starting Jan. 1.
The first group of licensees are all owned by Chicago-based Green Thumb Industries.
The state is expected to license dozens more stores in the weeks ahead, and existing MMJ operators get first crack at the rec cannabis market.
But there is a hitch: Individual municipalities can ban retail sales.
And state regulators reportedly have told MMJ operators that they won’t be given an adult-use license if they move to new sites after the law goes into effect Jan. 1.
Sponsors of the legislation that legalized adult-use sales have asked the state for flexibility on the issue, according to Crain’s Chicago Business.
Marijuana Business Daily projects that Illinois could generate up to $2.5 billion in sales a year when the market is mature.
Of the five Green Thumb MMJ dispensaries now licensed to sell adult-use cannabis, three are in Chicago’s suburbs: 3C Compassionate Care Centers in Joliet and Naperville and The Clinic Mundelein. However, Naperville’s City Council is considering banning retail sales.
The other two Green Thumb MMJ dispensaries now licensed to sell recreational marijuana are in central and southern Illinois: The Clinic Effingham and Saveo Health and Wellness in Canton.
– Associated Press and Marijuana Business Daily