SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Illinois' countdown to cannabis continues, as adult-use will be legal four weeks from Wednesday night.
Governor Pritzker just signed into law new rules clarifying who will get a chance to profit from the new industry.
Among other things, the new law clears up procedures for so-called "social equity" applicants seeking licenses to sell marijuana products, including cartridges for vaping.
“We want black and brown people,” said Gov. Pritzker. “We want people who've been left out and left behind to have a real opportunity to not only benefit from this new industry but to create new millionaires."
Companies that currently run medical marijuana outlets control the first phase of full legalization. They'll open 30 retail stores next month selling cannabis products to adults.
Experts expect long lines and product shortages. While the state may eventually allow up to 500 retail locations, it will start taking applications for the next 75 licenses on Tuesday.
“The focus was never, ‘get as much money as you possibly can, as fast as you can,’” said Toi Hutchinson, Cannabis Oversight Regulation. “The focus has always been, ‘create an equitable industry that looks different than anywhere else in the country.’”
It’s still not clear just how big the legal cannabis business will be in Illinois.
In other states, notably California, as much as 80 percent of sales remain on the black market because high taxes and strict regulations enable black market dealers to offer cut-rate pricing.