Illinois Municipalities Announce Plans to Allow Adult-Use Cannabis Businesses

Local municipalities in Illinois are moving to adopt ordinances that permit adult-use cannabis businesses. Illinois’ new adult-use cannabis law provides medical marijuana establishments with priority for obtaining an adult-use license, which may begin operating in January 2020. We expect municipalities that currently allow medical marijuana businesses to amend zoning requirements to accommodate adult-use cannabis businesses. We are also seeing new municipalities proposing ordinances to enter into the new market.

Over the next couple of weeks, the cities of Homewood, Oak Park and Addison will hold public meetings to adopt adult-use cannabis ordinances. Medical marijuana establishments currently operate in all three cities. Other Illinois cities such as Lincolnwood, Crestwood, Mcleansboro, Wadsworth, Galesburg, and Northbrook are proposing ordinances to permit adult-use cannabis.

Those looking to enter the Illinois cannabis market should start looking for a city to establish a business as the process is lengthy and can be just as competitive as the state process. Starting a business in a city that is new to the cannabis industry can be risky as local sentiment and litigation can cause a city to quickly exit or cease movement on an ordinance.

We expect the competition for real estate in these cities to heat up as potential adult-use cannabis businesses seek a place where they can start construction. Real estate speculation in the cannabis industry is increasing as brokers continue to obtain exclusives on potential real estate sites. Market entrants should build in sufficient time and money to finding a location.