What to Know About Opening a Dispensary in Illinois.

Updated: Jan 13

The adult use dispensary application process in Illinois is shaping up to be one of the most competitive in the country with only 75 licenses to be awarded. In this application round, Illinois has a focus on social equity and providing equal access to applicants of varying backgrounds and socio-economic statuses.

For this round of Illinois applications, social equity accounts for 20% of

the application score.

The Illinois adult use social equity program aims to involve and support individuals living in areas with high rates of poverty and unemployment, and those who have been negatively impacted by cannabis-related arrests, convictions, and incarceration. This is an important step for the cannabis industry in Illinois as many individuals and families have been disproportionately and negatively impacted by cannabis prohibition.

Point7 applauds Illinois for its social equity efforts in this round of cannabis licensing.

Applicants have an opportunity to demonstrate their company’s goals and plan to promote a diversity focus throughout the organization, ensuring all owners, employees, and prospective vendors are afforded equal access and opportunity. Illinois was recently ranked as the 10th most diverse state; the State’s regulations and application reflect this emphasis on inclusivity.

The most competitive applications are those comprised by a strong leadership team, diverse in background and professional experience in both cannabis and non-cannabis related businesses. Examples of relevant industries include retail, food and beverage, healthcare (since many adult use consumers still purchase for medical conditions), highly regulated products, or experience in other highly regulated industries.

Applicants should also consider establishing a strategy that focuses on benefitting potential site communities, demonstrating how they intend to improve these areas by becoming an integrated leader in the area. Applicants have a significant opportunity to highlight an ability to positively impact the surrounding community’s economy while ensuring public safety and preventing diversion.

Applicants must also provide reasonable assurance that the issuance of a license will not have a detrimental impact on the community in which the applicant wishes to locate. This demonstrates a desire to engage with the community by participating in one or more of the following ways:

  • Establishing an incubator program designed to increase participation in the cannabis industry by persons who would qualify as Social Equity Applicants;

  • Providing financial assistance to substance abuse treatment centers;

  • Educating children and teens about the potential harms of cannabis use; or

  • Showing other goals and measures of your commitment to the community of interest.

So, how do you effectively incorporate this into your application? A strong application starts with a genuine strategy, that you intend to implement if awarded a license. Consider surrounding yourself with resources that enliven your application, with consistent examples that help your submission stand out.

Point7 can help.

Could these beneficial resources accelerate your progress? 

Exhibit Template Narratives: Do your application exhibits need more relevant and prompt-focused content? Running out of time to complete a certain exhibit? Point7’s Exhibit Template Narratives are developed from proven content developed by our team of subject matter experts and technical writers.

Floor Plan/Facility Design: Point7's design team can develop materials to satisfy the requirements of Exhibit J including floor plans, architectural renderings, and supporting narratives describing your dispensary design. Our plans emphasize aesthetics, operational efficiency, and aim to showcase memorable consumer experiences.

Financial Modeling: Point7’s financial model, pro forma, and supporting narratives are developed to reflect your budget and projections, supported by historical and industry-specific research. Strengthen your application and demonstrate your financial ability to open an adult use dispensing facility quickly and efficiently.

Get in touch with Point7 today to learn how we can assist in your Illinois cannabis business application development.





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