CHICAGO (WLS) — It’s been four years since lawmakers legalized recreational pot sales in Illinois.
However, many entrepreneurs of color are still struggling to get a foothold in the industry.
The Cannabis Business Development Fund has delivered about $21 million of the $34 million in seed funding it had promised since 2021, according to data provided by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. But state records show there are currently 52 social equity dispensaries and 10 independent craft growers in operation. That is only a fraction of the nearly 300 combined licenses the state has awarded to date, and regulators are preparing to inject an additional $40 million into the program.
Advocates for independent cannabis operators are hoping to pass a list of rule changes during the Illinois General Assembly’s fall veto session.