Illinois Craft Cannabis Cultivators Battle for Maximum Legal Size at Start-up

It’s a David v Goliath scenario in the $1-billion Illinois adult-use market. Big cannabis is battling proposed legislation to expand the start-up size of craft cannabis businesses designed to benefit minority entrepreneurs and improve equity.

“As setting a new bar for social equity; State lawmakers created a potential blueprint to provide greater opportunities for minority entrepreneurs in Illinois’ new recreational cannabis industry.”

Photo by Benjamin Rascoe Cover image by Ozzie Stern 

In 2019, Illinois was applauded “as setting a new bar for social equity; State lawmakers created a potential blueprint to provide greater opportunities for minority entrepreneurs in Illinois’ new recreational cannabis industry.”

The struggling legislation finally awarded 40 craft cannabis licenses in July 2021. But they were limited to a 5,000 square-foot canopy at launch and the right to expand in 3,000 square-foot increments to a maximum of 14,000 square feet.

Craft growers claim the initial limit is too small to attract investors. They support a proposal to allow the 14,000 square-foot canopies right away. Big cannabis, which is allowed 210,000 square feet, claims this is a ploy to sell the licenses.

At issue is equity in the cannabis market.

“Illinois is a microcosm of the conflict over market access between multistate operators and minority entrepreneurs across the country.”

“Illinois is a microcosm of the conflict over market access between multistate operators and minority entrepreneurs across the country.”

Amber Littlejohn, executive director of the Minority Cannabis Business Association, says this represents a “misalignment of stated values on equity (by some large companies) and their policy positions and strategies actually executed on the ground.”

GCAC supports and encourages equity in the cannabis industry. Our updated Efixii platform now records, analyzes, and reports more than 50 Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) benchmarks to help brands meet UN Sustainability goals. We believe transparent cultivation, regulatory, and consumption models breed better medical cannabis.

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The Efixii mobile app helps cultivators, regulators, industry professionals, and consumers view the entire cannabis lifecycle, including ESG successes. We enable safe, certified, and consistent cannabis products. Everyone can see the whole product story by simply scanning a secure Efixii QR code.

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