Monday, September 22, was the deadline for companies to apply for licenses to grow and sell medical cannabis under the state’s new medical marijuana pilot program. A spokeswoman for the program said that most applicants waited until Monday to apply.
Applicants for dispensaries were required to submit a non-refundable, $5,000 per-applicant fee, while those seeking to run a cultivation center anted up a non-refundable fee of $25,000; both were required to provide significant amounts of associated documentation. However the pricey fees didn’t discourage applications—state officials reported there were 158 applications for cultivation centers and 211 for dispensaries. As a result, the state has already collected $5 million in fees from the program.
The Dept. of Agriculture is responsible for reviewing applications for cultivation centers and the Dept. of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) is responsible for reviewing the applications for the dispensaries. Eventually the state is expected to authorize 22 cultivation centers across the state (one for each state police district and two in Cook County) and 60 dispensaries, which will be geographically dispersed around Illinois.
It’s unlikely that applicants will learn who has been licensed to sell medical marijuana until December, at the earliest. The program is not expected to be fully functional with operating cultivation centers and dispensaries until early 2015.
Illinois’ medical marijuana law is considered to be the nation’s most restrictive and heavily regulated.