For more than a year, Illinois cannabis consumers have been clamoring for craft cannabis in Illinois.
In August 2021, the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) issued 32 craft grow licenses and had been required by law to issue 60 additional craft grow licenses by Dec. 21, 2021. However, litigation from 13 applicants, who were disqualified during that licensing round, delayed the release of new licenses with an indefinite stay from the courts that forbade Illinois from naming the winning applicants and issuing the licenses while the litigation slowly moved through the legal system.
Meanwhile, Illinois Senate and House legislators have introduced and are taking action on several new craft grow amendments to the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act.
Amendments include more square feet of canopy space for plants in the flowering state, raises specified square footage requirements for craft growers, raises the maximum number of craft grower licenses, and more.
- Provides that a craft craft grower may contain up to 14,000 (rather than 5,000) square feet of canopy space on its premises for plants in the flowering state.
- Removes language providing that 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.
- Provides that, notwithstanding any other provision of law, a dispensing organization may offer curbside or drive-through pickup after submitting and receiving approval from the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.
- Provides that all orders for curbside or drive-through pickup must be placed in advance and no in person or on-site ordering is permitted.
- Requires each cultivation center to set aside a portion of THC oil extract from its monthly production for sale to craft growers and infuser organizations licensed under the Act.
- Provides that a cultivation center is prohibited from requiring a craft grower or infuser organization to purchase one product in order to purchase another and from discriminating in price between similarly situated craft growers or infusers organizations.
- Requires cultivation centers to provide the Department of Agriculture with sales data for the sale of THC oil extract to a craft grower or infuser organization upon request.
- Provides that the Department of Agriculture shall publish the average sale price of THC oil extract for each cultivation center monthly on its website.
- Removes language providing that a craft grower shall not be located within 1,500 feet of another craft grower or a cultivation center.
On February 15, the amendments were referred to the Executive members.
- Raises specified square footage requirements for craft growers.
- Removes language allowing the Department of Agriculture to authorize a decrease of flowering stage cultivation space used for cultivating specified plants.
- Raises the maximum number of craft grower licenses for specified craft growers to 3 (rather than one), 6 (rather than 2), and 10 (rather than 3).
- Removes language prohibiting craft growers from being located within 1,500 feet of each other.
- Prohibits cannabis product advertising from describing or referencing a cannabis product as “craft” unless the cannabis product is produced by a craft grower.
- Provides that the Cannabis Cultivation Privilege Tax shall not be assessed against or collected from specified craft growers until 2 years after the date the craft grower was awarded a license.
- Makes other changes.
On the same day, Ford also introduced two more amendments. The second proposed the following amendments.
- Removes language providing that any person or entity awarded a craft grower license under specified provisions shall only hold one craft grower license.
- Requires the Department of Agriculture to issue an additional 30 craft grower licenses on or before March 15, 2022 under specified conditions.
- Removes language providing that a craft grower shall not be located within 1,500 feet of another craft grower.
- Requires each adult use cultivation center or Early Approval Adult Use Cultivation Center License holder that produces THC oil extract to set aside a portion of its total monthly production of THC oil extract to sell to infuser organizations to provide infuser organizations with an adequate supply for their infusion processes.
- Provides that a transporting organization may transport cannabis or cannabis-infused products to a transporting organization depot or other transporting organization transfer facility.
- Provides that no cannabis business establishment nor any other person or entity shall engage in advertising that contains any statement or illustration that includes a description of or reference to a cannabis product as “craft”, unless that product or the raw material used to create that product is produced by a craft grower.
- Provides that the tax imposed under the Cannabis Cultivation Privilege Tax Law shall not be assessed against or collected from any craft grower awarded a craft grower license under the Act until 2 years after the date that the license is awarded to the craft grower.
- Makes other changes.
Ford’s third introduced amendment included the following.
- Provides that premises may be shared between up to 3 craft growers, an infuser organization, a cultivation center, a dispensing organization, or any combination thereof, provided that specified requirements are met. Effective immediately.
These amendments were assigned to the Executive Committee February 9.
Rep. Paul Jacobs introduced the following amendments.
- Provides that, notwithstanding any other provision of law, an applicant for a craft grower license who was unable to cure a deficiency in the applicant’s craft grower license application in the time period allotted by the Department of Agriculture due to COVID-19: (1) shall have any of the deficient information provided by the applicant to the Department included in the applicant’s craft grower license application’s score in any award of a craft grower license by the Department during calendar year 2021; (2) the applicant’s deficient craft grower license application shall be considered submitted, with the deficient information provided, in the award of the craft grower license by the Department and need not be resubmitted; and (3) shall not pay any additional fee to the Department regarding the applicant’s craft grower license application. Effective immediately.
This amendment also was assigned to the Executive Committee February 9.
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