The 55 current medical-cannabis dispensaries receive early approval for licenses to sell under the new Act. They may apply to dispense recreational marijuana at their current stores and for a license for a second location, meaning the state could have 110 recreational cannabis outlets by the time sales start January 1, 2020.
- On October 15, 2019, applications for up to 75 dispensaries will be made available. These new businesses will serve in addition to medical dispensaries that receive approval to serve adult consumers during the transition.
- On January 1, 2020, sales begin. January 7, 2020, applications for infusers, transporters, and a new category of cultivator called a craft grower will be published for business applicants.
- On May 1, 2020, new dispensaries licenses will be issued, and the state will begin a disparity and market study of the cannabis industry.
- On July 1, 2020, up to 40 craft grower and infuser licenses will be issued, along with an unlimited number of transporter licenses.
The Act allows for up to 47 dispensary licenses to be awarded within the “Chicago-Naperville-Elgin” region by May 1, 2020. The applications for such licenses shall be available by October 1. Once the disparity and market studies are complete, the state can issue additional licenses if needed. These licenses must take into account the findings of the disparity study.