350 plus apply for Illinois marijuana businesses
Published on 9/25/14
Competition among medical marijuana businesses in Illinois will be intense after more than 350 groups applied to legally grow or sell the state's first legal and taxed cannabis, program officials announced Wednesday.
A preliminary count showed 158 applications for cultivation centers and 211 applications for dispensaries beat the Monday afternoon deadline. That means that nonrefundable fees collected by the state from the applicants topped $5 million.
"There's a ton of excitement and enthusiasm from the industry," said one applicant, Ben Kovler, founding partner and CEO of Chicago-based Green Thumb Industries. "This shows there is trust in the system the state has set up."
Green Thumb submitted applications for cultivation centers in Normal, Rock Island, Oglesby and Dixon and dispensaries in Mundelein, Chicago and Chicago Heights, Kovler said. Applications were so extensive that they filled many boxes and required the company to rent a truck, he said.
Bob Morgan, coordinator of the state's medical cannabis program, said the volume of applications "will allow us to pick the most qualified applicants."