Illinois craft grow, infuser, and transportation license applicants say the wait costs them

Although dispensary applicants are fighting over who gets to be considered by the state, the delay is also impacting craft grow, infuser and transportation applicants. While those applications are handled by the Illinois Department of Agriculture, rather than the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR), both agencies contracted KPMG to score applications, which has forced the Ag Department to wait for court cases addressing IDFPR’s scoring concerns to be resolved.

Craft grow applicants have more financial exposure than other license types, since their application requires a specific location and site plan to be detailed as part of the application. Craft grow, infuser, and transportation licenses were originally supposed to be announced on June 30.

Paul Magelli is president of the Illinois Craft Cannabis Association, an alliance of “about four dozen” craft grow applicants. The group surveyed their members and found that over, “the last three months of delay, our members spent about $15 to 25 million. They had to secure zoning, property and sometimes, to secure social equity, they had to pay a team. They had to continue to invest in their property, some are paying $10,000 a month or more to hold a property, and up to $20,000 a month on teams.”

“The biggest thing for most craft growers is losing the space you applied for in your application,” said craft grow applicant Anton Seals. “What’s not clear is will we have to go back; will you have to change the location.”

Asked for a status update Wednesday, a Department of Agriculture spokesperson had few details on next steps.

“Ensuring the state’s cannabis industry is equitable and available to all Illinoisans, regardless of background, is the administration’s top priority. KPMG is in the final stages of completing the scoring process for submitted applications. The Department will continue to provide public updates regarding the issuance of craft grow, infuser, and transportation licenses,” the spokesperson said in a written statement.