Illinois Medical Marijuana Cultivation Expected to Start Soon

Between lawsuits, regulatory wrestling and changes in elected officials, Illinois has had a difficult time in implementing its fledgling medical marijuana program. But after two years of delay, the program is poised to finally get off the ground as state regulators begin final inspections on many of the approved applicants.

PharmaCann LLC is one of the companies expected to start the cultivation process. The company, based in Oak Park, recently won its cultivation license in March of this year when Green Thumb Industries LLC failed to produce the required $2 million surety bond or escrow account and the $200,000 permit fee.

PharmaCann is expected to build four medical marijuana dispensaries and two cultivation centers, more than any other company in the state.

“Getting permitted, built and operational in six months (as required by law) is a very, very big undertaking,” said Chief Operations Officer John Leja, according to the Chicago Tribune. “Construction is one component, but it’s also hiring, building a brand and purchasing. It’s a complicated dance.”

According to Leja, PharmaCann has been working around the clock to build cultivation facilities in compliance with a very long list of rules and regulations. Complete with a set of sophisticated environmental controls, PharmaCann’s facility will sport a glass roof to let in sunlight, reducing both financial and environmental impacts.

On the dispensary side of the equation, business owners are patiently waiting for the first seed to go into the ground. It doesn’t make much sense to open a business without any product, so until dispensary owners know exactly when medical marijuana will become available, many will not be able to hire employees or open their doors.

However, all of that might just become a moot point if the state cannot get more patients into the medical marijuana program. Although there are approximately 22,600 people that have signed up to obtain medical marijuana, only 3,200 have actually completed the application and only 2,600 have been approved.

That is a huge cause for concern among the many entrepreneurs who have spent millions of dollars trying to get their medical marijuana business off of the ground.

The silver lining is that the current state of Illinois’ industry does not have the capacity to meet the demand of tens of thousands of patients. With any luck, as the industry increases in production, so too will the number of medical marijuana patients.

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