What’s more popular in Illinois these days – the new iPhone 6 or the demand for medical marijuana dispensary licenses? That’s more of a rhetorical question than a “real” one; don’t bother wrapping your head around it. The deadline to apply for dispensary licenses under the state’s Medical Cannabis Pilot Program has passed couple of weeks ago and state officials were completely unprepared for the gallop of last-minute applicants (like they didn’t know how timely the stoners of the world are!). Not to mention the crazy load of paperwork and a non-refundable $5,000 application fee, which probably made every entrepreneurial pothead in Illinois procrastinate even more than usually. Program officials called the applications “voluminous.” That is how officials give estimates these days.
Only 60 licenses will be issued
Now it doesn’t surprise you that the new iPhone wasn’t such a hot topic, right? Only 60 lucky bastards will get the license. The state has received nearly 160 applications for 22 cultivation centers and more than 200 for 60 dispensary licenses that will be awarded under the Illinois Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act. The shining opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a new, promising industry has lifted the spirits of many individuals and organizations who rushed to draft plans for heir own lucrative medical marijuana operation, even though there is no guarantee of being granted a license by the state of Illinois. Some have already invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into potential cultivation centers and dispensaries. Even though the state will not make a decision for weeks, some folks say are moving forward with plans to build the operation anyway.
How will Illinois regulate and oversee the sales
The law sees cannabis as a highly sought after commodity but also thinks of it as very dangerous goods. It is legal, but only and exclusively for medical use under clearly defined circumstances. There is great concern regarding facilities vulnerability – the state thinks they will be targets of various criminals trying to get their hands on the precious pot as well as piles of cash. Because of that, the regulatory framework requires implementation of security measures to protect against outside attack as well as against employee theft by using sophisticated recordkeeping and plant tracking systems. From a law enforcer’s point of view, Illinois’ regulatory system should be regarded as highly efficient one. The production of cannabis will take place entirely under ”one roof” – the facility responsible for growing the plants will also be the facility responsible for turning the plant into medicinal or edible form, while conducting packaging and labeling. Other states allow separate functions to be performed by separate companies. Unlike them, Illinois avoids the additional administrative burden of having to oversee all these new and untested companies. That is the reason why they limited the number to only 60 dispensaries – restricting the number of licensees who may produce and sell cannabis medicine will keep the administrative burden low. It costs less time and money to oversee fewer producers, right? Or we can just call them lazy and go home. You decide.