As of today, Illinois has two operating legal cannabis infusers, the first set of new adult use cannabis businesses to be operating and selling product since early 2020. The two companies, Krown, in Pekin, Ill., and Contract Canna in Homewood, Ill., are both producing gummies for sale in dispensaries across the state.
Illinois’ infuser license holders must acquire oil from cultivators, unlike other manufacturers of processors in other states they cannot extract from biomass. But both companies report they have had little problem acquiring oil from the state’s 21 cultivators.
“Everyone except GTI is selling. It seems like everyone has a plethora of oil,” said Ben Dreyfuss from Contract Canna. “We’ve been in operation for three weeks. And we’ve seen one person quote one thing, and the next week a bit higher, because maybe it was the end quarter and they wanted to get some extra dollars in.”
“There are many cultivators willing to sell oil at significant volumes, although the prices are higher than other states,” said Krown’s Allison Dries, who proudly points out that her business, which launched Tuesday, is the state’s first social equity-based woman-owned business.
“We asked for significant amounts, which was shocking to the cultivators. They were surprised to hear it but they were able to meet it,” she said. “I think availability will only increase as we start to order regular and consistent volumes, the cultivators will be able to adjust their grow plans and several of them said they are willing to do that.”
The two companies reported wholesale oil prices fluctuating between $13,000 and $20,000 per liter. Across Lake Michigan, oil prices in Michigan are less than half that price.
Contact Canna is already in dispensaries with their DIBZ brand of gummies with four flavors.
“We launched in Windy City [dispensaries] across the state, and then we’re adding another 20 this week. We were waiting on testing for one SKU, and then another SKU in about two weeks once we get updated packaging,” said Contract Canna’s Brandon Metoyer.
The two companies have had plenty of testing companies to choose from. Illinois has seven.
“A lot of them are focused on testing turnaround time, they are offering quick turnarounds if we enter a contract agreement,” said Dries. Illinois labs are guaranteeing a basic panel test with a 24-hour turnaround for those with contracts.
Dreyfuss said a few hiccups came with their systems when they first launched.
“There were some BioTrack mishaps, because the software engineers didn’t account for all the dimensions of the infuser license,” he said. But that was quickly fixed.
Dries left a six-figure chemical engineering job to launch Krown.
“It’s so exciting to start a new business away from corporate culture.”