Come January 1, 2020, recreational marijuana will become legal in Illinois. Adults age 21 and over will be able to legally purchase marijuana for recreational use from licensed sellers in the state. Under the new law, adults of legal age can buy up to 30 grams, or approximately 1 ounce of marijuana flowers, 5 grams of cannabis concentrate products, and edibles containing up to 500mg of THC. Non-residents of Illinois are able to purchase half of those amounts. Read on to learn everything you need to know on Illinois marijuana legalization.
Who Can Sell Marijuana Legally?
Currently, the process for opening a recreational marijuana dispensary in Illinois is limited to existing medical marijuana dispensaries. However, by early 2020 new applicants will be allowed to apply for dispensary licenses. The most recent round of licenses will be issued on a points-based scoring system. This 250-point scale is based on a number of factors, including diversity and environmental plans, labor, security, experience, business plans, employee training, veteran status, state resident, or social equity applicant. Using this ranking system, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation will determine who will receive the first 75 licenses to sell recreational marijuana.
Where Can People Use Cannabis?
Although recreational marijuana will soon become legal in Illinois, it is still up to each individual city, town, and municipality as to whether or not they will allow recreational marijuana sales. In Chicago, marijuana sales are legal but a zoning ordinance has been introduced which prevents the sale of cannabis in the Central Business District of the city. This includes the Magnificent Mile and the Loop, both major tourist areas. The remainder of the city is divided into seven different zones. In each zone, a total of 13 marijuana retail locations are permitted.
While marijuana will be available in much of Chicago, there are still certain communities in Illinois where you can not buy recreational cannabis in 2020. These communities include the following:
- Arlington Heights
- Downers Grove
- DuPage County (not allowed in unincorporated areas)
- Glen Carbon
- Highland Park
- Lake Forest
- Lake Zurich
- Long Grove
- O’Fallon (a referendum may be approved in March 2020)
- Orland Park
- Park Ridge
- Winnetka (banned until zoning codes can be updated)
Even though recreational marijuana will be legal in most cities and towns in Illinois, the use of cannabis will still be prohibited in certain areas. This includes public places, such as in the street or at the park. Recreational marijuana will also be prohibited on school grounds. This does not include cannabis for medical users. Other places where recreational marijuana consumption is prohibited includes in motor vehicles, while driving a boat or flying a plan, while in a correctional facility, by a school bus driver, by a fire or police officer, near a corrections officer on duty, or near someone who is less than 21 years old.
How Can People Sell Marijuana?
Opening a cannabis dispensary requires business owners to go through a number of steps. Business owners must also stay in compliance and will face a number of financial challenges. The first step in the process involves preparing a business plan. Your business plan should include market research, a description of your products and services, and a concise budget. You will also need to obtain a cannabis retail license and find a suitable location for your dispensary. After your license has been approved, you will have just six months to choose a physical location for your storefront that meets certain requirements. One of these requirements pertains to zoning. Your dispensary cannot be within 1,000 feet of a school, residential zone, place of worship, or another cannabis dispensary.
You will then have to obtain your product. Cannabis dispensaries in Illinois are required to offer an assortment of products from various cannabis cultivating establishments. Inventory from a single cultivator cannot exceed 40 percent of your total inventory. Most importantly, you will need to obtain comprehensive marijuana dispensary insurance. Cannabis dispensary businesses face certain risks that extend beyond traditional business risks. By having a number of insurance policies under your belt, such as product liability insurance, you can help protect your investment and grow your business without fear of the financial repercussions of a possible lawsuit.
Inquire About Cannabis Insurance
Illinois marijuana legalization is expected to increase revenue in the state exponentially starting in early 2020 when the law goes into effect. With the rising popularity of cannabis edibles and other products, you can expect your business to have great success. However, you will want to avoid the pitfalls that come with marijuana sales by protecting your business. For more information about marijuana legalization in Illinois or how to obtain comprehensive cannabis dispensary insurance for your business, contact the cannabis insurance professionals at MFE Insurance today.