Cook County could become home to eight new craft grow licenses, according to new license information released by Illinois regulators. 

In August 2021, the Illinois’ Department of Agriculture granted 66 transporter licenses, 40 craft grower licenses, and 32 infuser licenses. The license locations for these companies were released on January 26.

The top counties to receive any licenses were: Cook County (49, or 35.5%), McHenry County (12 or 8.6%), Will County (8 or 5.7%), Lake County (7 or 5%), Kane County (6 or 4%), Winnebago County (6 or 4%), Saint Clair County (4 or 2.8%), Kankakee County (3 or 2.1%), and Peoria County (3 or 2.1%).

The Department of Agriculture posted “New location to be determined” for eight licenses. While license applicants were required to show control over a location as part of the application process, because of the length of time between application and award – over a year – some license winners were forced to give up options for their location.

Kane County and McHenry County each received four craft grower licenses; and Will and Winnebago Counties each received three. 

Twenty-nine transporter licenses went to businesses in Cook County – a whopping 43.9% of all transportation licenses. Fifty percent of those went to addresses in the suburbs and the other half to Chicago proper. 

The next most populous county for transportation licenses was McHenry County, with four licenses, or 6%.

Thirty-seven percent of infusers were located within Cook County, the most of any county; the next most common county was McHenry County, with 12.5% of all the infuser licenses.

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Brad Spirrison is a journalist, serial entrepreneur and media ecologist. He lives in Chicago with his son. Interests include music, meditation and Miles Davis.