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US (IL): New cannabis license process aims to focus on social equity

Aspiring cannabis entrepreneurs, get your keyboard fingers ready — it is almost time to apply for a license. The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation announced the latest timeline and application process for obtaining a cannabis dispensary license. The office said it made some adjustments since the last round, with a goal of improving its social equity candidate reach.

Erin Johnson, cannabis regulation oversight officer with the department, outlined the changes made in response to feedback from the first round.

“This round of applications, for instance, will be online,” Johnson said. “The application period starts January 30 but runs until March 3. So folks have a little bit more time to apply if they wish to. The applications are a little bit more bare-bones than they were at the last round. So we really just need the name of your business, primary ownership — those sorts of things. Most importantly, the fee has gone down to $250, as opposed to the $2,500 that it was in the last round.”

Akele Parnell, who received a social equity license for his dispensary UMI Farms in 2021, said he “loves” the changes the office has made.


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