Some in Illinois are trying to establish a statewide cannabis commission in an effort to streamline the state's regulation of the legal cannabis sector while attempting to decrease litigation and the threat of politics.
In order to obtain a license and become regulated, business owners in Illinois' adult-use and medicinal cannabis industries now have to deal with a number of state authorities. Paying application costs and adhering to a number of additional conditions, such as being a social equity candidate, can be burdensome.
Marcus Evans, a state representative from Chicago, wants to eliminate touch points by establishing a cannabis commission that is comparable to the state's gaming or liquor commissioners.
Evans told The Center Square,
It’s about centralizing things and time management. Business folks don’t need the confusion. Even some of us are confused because I don’t know which agency is which. I’ve got to try to answer folks and bring out a flowchart. Why make government difficult when it can be easy.
For the state to truly fulfill its legislative goals for the sector, according to Cannabis Business Association of Illinois Executive Director Pam Althoff, processes need to be made more efficient.
28 new cannabis distributing licenses were granted last week by Governor J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation following the results of three lotteries. Since the start of adult-use sales in January 2020, 177 dispensaries have received licenses altogether.
The state agencies involved in the cannabis industry include the Department of Agriculture, IDFPR, State Police, Department of Revenue, and Department of Public Health, depending on the cannabis industry, including craft growers, manufacturers, distributors, transporters, or even medicinal cannabis users and their caregivers.
The fiscal year 2022 saw $1.5 billion in total sales. The state divided the $445 million in tax income in numerous ways.
The general revenue fund of the state receives more than a third of the income. Ten percent goes toward the state's unpaid debt backlog. Two percent goes to cannabis public safety programs, while eight percent goes to law enforcement. Every cannabis tax dollar is used to fund grants for neighborhood organizations in places where prior drug enforcement practices had a detrimental impact. Additionally, local governments are permitted to tack on an extra 3 percent of sales tax.