With Illinois’ 103rd General Assembly session adjourning Friday, May 19, lawmakers are making their final push for legislation, including a cannabis omnibus. The recently drafted omnibus currently includes changes to craft grow canopy space, curbside pickup, and items related to transporting organizations.
If the omnibus is agreed upon and is attached to a different Senate bill for passage, all cannabis related amendments in the omnibus would pass. If politicians and interested parties cannot agree on the omnibus, then all cannabis amendments fail. Two of the most watched items include expanding craft grow canopy space and curbside pickup.
The first amendment adds that a “craft grower may contain up to 14,000 square feet (instead of 5,000) of canopy space on its premises for plants in the flowering state, which must be cultivated in all stages of growth in an enclosed and secure area.” The amendment deletes the following paragraph: “The Department of Agriculture may authorize an increase or decrease of flowering stage cultivation space in increments of 3,000 square feet by rule based on market need, craft grower capacity, and the licensee’s history of compliance or noncompliance, with a maximum space of 14,000 square feet for cultivating plants in the flowering stage.”
For Illinois to continue curbside pickup, the following paragraph was added: “Curbside pickup. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a dispensing organization may offer curbside or drive-through pickup after submitting and receiving approval from the Department. All orders for curbside or drive-through pickup must be placed in advance and no in-person or on-site ordering is permitted.” Another paragraph added, “During hours of operation, dispense all cannabis from the restricted access area, a drive-through window of the restricted access area, or a pickup location in close proximity to the restricted access area. For purposes of this paragraph, ‘close proximity’ means an area contiguous to the real property of the dispensary, such as a sidewalk or parking lot.”
A third item states that, “The Department shall authorize a dispensing organization that has been unable to find a suitable location within the BLS Region in which it was awarded a license to transfer its Conditional Adult Use Dispensing Organization License to another BLS Region specified by the Department.” “BLS Region” means a region in Illinois used by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics to gather and categorize certain employment and wage data. Illinois has 17 such regions.
A few other minor changes include how law enforcement can calculate the weight of cannabis for penalties, stating, “In calculating the weight of cannabis for the purpose of imposing a penalty against an individual under this Section, the weight of the amount of cannabis that may be legally possessed by the individual under the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act or the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program Act shall be subtracted from the total weight used in determining the offense class or applicable fine.”
Other smaller changes also include the addition of the line, “The Department has the authority to adopt rules and policies prohibiting the use of pesticides during the flowering stage,” and “The Department of Agriculture may modify packaging requirements, including package warnings, by rule.”
New language for transporters also exists in the omnibus, such as, “By January 1, 2025, the Department shall adopt rules for the issuance of consolidated transport center licenses and shall issue applications for consolidated transport center licenses,” and the addition of 16,000 pounds for commercial motor vehicles that transporters use. Other language exempts license cannabis testing facilities authorized under the “Act to transport cannabis from licensed cannabis business establishments to the licensed cannabis testing facility and are exempt from the transporting organization license requirements.”
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