The THC gummy machine in action at Freshly Baked microbusiness in Taunton, Mass. Soon, small Illinois cannabis business may be doing the same thing.

A batch of 22 adult-use infuser and one transporter licenses were issued in Illinois last week, as new license winners received notice of their award from the Illinois Department of Agriculture. The Department is not officially announcing winners until each license winner accepts the license and pays their license fee.

[Read the list of companies who have won and accepted Illinois craft grow, transporter, and infuser licenses thus far.]

“We obviously remain extremely disappointed that the craft licenses have not come out at the same time,” said Paul Magelli, head of the Illinois Craft Cannabis Association, which represents applicants for craft growers, infusers, and transporter licenses.

Illinois regulators are authorized through the 2019 adult-use legalization law to issue up to 60 additional cannabis craft grower licenses and 60 additional cannabis infuser licenses by Dec. 21, 2021. However, Illinois’ on-going craft grow “super case” includes a court order barring the award or transfer of craft grow licenses. That court order did not impact infuser or transporter licenses.

“I think there are still challenges ahead for the infusers and transporters,” Magelli said. “Obviously, the transport business becomes interesting when new dispensaries are in operation, right, as well as the craft growers and the infusers. So, until they’re operational, the transporters are not going to have a lot to do.”

Issued on Dec. 21, “Those notifications were just to notify the applicant that they qualify for license but need to submit paperwork to complete the process,” said Krista Lisser, spokesperson for the Illinois Department of Agriculture told Grown In.

“They have not turned in their paperwork to say yes we still want the license,” Lisser said “The notifications issued on Dec. 21, were just to notify the applicant that they qualify for license but need to submit paperwork to complete the process. So, none of these are actual license holders yet.”

Finding a ready supply of distillate from commercial growers is one of the ways infusers will face potential challenges, Magelli explained.

“They won’t be successful unless they have a consistent supply of high-quality distillate,” Magelli said. “Despite lots of promises from commercial operators, commercial growers, distillate has not really been forthcoming yet. So, know a number of infuser licensees in the first round and suspect some of these in the second round will find it challenging to lock in a consistent supply of distillate.”

Craft grow and infuser applicants are spending a lot of money for staff costs, and facility holding costs and other expenses, he added.

“We’re all hopeful that something will happen for craft growers sooner rather than later,” Magelli said. “We think there are some things the state can do. I don’t believe the state is restricted by the court to share scores. They are restricted from announcing winners. If they’re able to share scores, a lot of people can move on with their lives or figure out if they want to become part of a legal process for administrative review if they feel like their licensing application hasn’t been fully or appropriately considered.”

If the court were to allow that, Magelli added it would move the process along and would not violate any of the court’s restrictions.

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Deborah Bayliss

Award-winning journalist with a career that started on Chicago’s South Side providing general news coverage. In addition to Illinois, coverage regions include Georgia and Louisiana where I provided city...