The following important updates were just announced from the Cannabis Regulatory Oversight Office (CROO) regarding:
- Craft Grow, Infuser and Transportation
- Adult-Use Dispensary Lottery Dates
- Community College Curricula
- Social Equity Cannabis Technical Assistance and Loan Program
Under the CRTA, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) is permitted to issue 75 conditional adult-use cannabis dispensary licenses. HB 1443, which was introduced by Representative LaShawn Ford and Leader Kimberly Lightford and supported by the administration, expands opportunities by creating two new lotteries:
- A social equity justice-involved lottery for 55 additional licenses to be awarded to:
- those who have received a score of at least 85% on their application, or 213 out of a total of 250 possible points; and
- live in a disproportionately impacted area, has an eligible cannabis conviction, or has a family member with an eligible cannabis conviction;
- A lottery for an additional 55 licenses for applicants who had a score of at least 85% on their application. In total, 185 dispensary licenses will be determined through the lottery process.
HB 1443 is effective immediately.
Craft Grow, Infuser and Transportation
The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA), which is responsible for the licensing process for craft grow, infuser, and transporter licenses, issued notifications to applicants who are eligible to receive one of 213 total licenses: 40 craft grow, 32 infuser, and 141 transporter. Craft grow and infuser applicants have 10 business days to respond to the notification confirming their interest in receiving a license and to submit the required fee and documents. Transporter applicants have until February 2022 to confirm their interest in receiving a license.
Adult-Use Dispensary Lottery Dates
The Illinois State Lottery will conduct a total of three lotteries for adult-use dispensary license applicants this year. The lotteries will be held on:
- July 29th: the lottery for qualifying applicants who received who received a score of at least 85% of the 250 application points will be held for the 55 licenses in that category.
- August 5th: the lottery for social equity justice-involved applicants who received a score of at least 85% of the 250 application points and are located in a disproportionately impacted area or have an eligible conviction will be held for the 55 available licenses in that category.
- August 19th: the final lottery will be held for top scoring, tied applicants for the original 75 licenses outlined in the CRTA.
Lotteries for all cannabis-related licenses, as it is for all other lotteries, will be a completely blind process managed by the Illinois State Lottery. All draws will be automated via a computer program and the Lottery will run multiple quality assurance checks before delivering the final results of each lottery to Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR). The results of each lottery will be available by 5 p.m. on the day of the draws.
Community College Curricula
The Cannabis Community College Vocational Pilot Program grants eligible higher education institutions the ability to develop a curriculum to train a new generation of cannabis industry professionals and leaders. Seven inaugural recipients of the license as well as plans to announce additional licenses soon. The community college license recipients are: Kishwaukee College, Oakton College, Olive-Harvey College, Shawnee Community College, Southwestern Illinois College, Triton College, and Wilbur Wright College.
This innovative program offers students a path to achieving a Career in Cannabis Certificate which includes the ability to work with, study, and grow live cannabis plants to prepare for a career in the legal cannabis industry and instruction in the legal compliance of the cannabis business industry, among other topics. The program is a vital part of the growing cannabis industry in Illinois and will provide a path to the thousands of new jobs being created right here in Illinois for community college graduates in communities around the state.
Social Equity Cannabis Technical Assistance and Loan Program
Social Equity Applicants are eligible for ongoing, free technical assistance through the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO): https://www2.illinois.gov/dceo/CannabisEquity/Pages/TechnicalAssistance.aspx
Additionally, DCEO has established the Social Equity Loan (SEL) program to provide financial assistance for social equity licensees, and to help increase access to capital for prospective social equity cannabis entrepreneurs over time.
The SEL program will provide flexible low interest loans to assist with the expenses of starting and operating a cannabis business establishment. Loan terms will be determined on a case-by-case basis, with a general repayment term of over five years. To be eligible for the loan, a cannabis business establishment must receive licensure and meet the qualifications of a social equity applicant. Funding will be prioritized for applicants demonstrating the greatest adverse impact from the failed war on drugs. Licensees offered conditional acceptance into the Loan Program will be referred to lender partners for a full review of the loan application for funding consideration.
To administer the loan program, DCEO is partnering with two lenders, Good Tree Capital and Credit Union 1, who will work alongside the state to provide low-interest loan agreements for qualifying SEA applicants. Loans may be made available up to the following amounts:
- Transporter: $100,000
- Adult-Use Dispensing Organization: $500,000
- Infuser: $500,000
- Cultivator: $1,000,000
Through its partnership with lending partners, the State anticipates up to $34 million in loans could be made available in the first year, and the State will work with partners to enhance the loan program to ensure that it is a sustainable source of financial support for the social equity community.
DCEO has launched an application intake portal allowing social equity awardees to submit to the loan program. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. The intake application is the first step in the loan approval process. Approved applicants will be referred to the participating lenders for loan underwriting. The intake form can be found online here.