More than 700 applicants have submitted applications seeking approximately 4,000 adult cannabis dispensary licenses in the State of Illinois. More than 700 applicants havesubmitted applications seeking approximately 4,000 adult cannabisdispensary licenses in the State of Illinois.

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CHICAGO— The Illinois Department of Federal and ProfessionalRegulation reports that statewide adult-use cannabis sales from thefirst five days of legalization (Wednesday Jan. 1 through Sunday,Jan. 5) totaled $10,830,667.91.

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Dispensaries across the state rendered 271,169transactions over the five-day period. On Thursday, Jan. 2, thedepartment concluded the first round of applications for newdispensary licenses and reports that a preliminary count shows morethan 700 applicants submitted applications seeking almost 4,000licenses.

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More than 600 of the applicants identified themselves asqualifying for social equity applicant status. The department willannounce by May 1 up to 75 new dispensary licenses.

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"The successful launch of this new industry is a historicdevelopment for our state that will benefit the very communitiesthat have been disproportionately impacted by the failed war ondrugs," says Toi Hutchinson, senior advisor to Governor J.B.Pritzker for Cannabis Control. "As we move into the next phase, thePritzker administration is proud to see the robust interest indispensary ownership from social equity applicants, and weencourage them to apply for $30 million in loans that we haveavailable to reduce the capital barriers to entry."

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To defray the start-up costs associated with entering theindustry, social equity applicants have access to a low-cost loanfund, primarily funded by existing dispensaries, and are allowed180 days from the license award date to identify a physicallocation for the dispensary. Ownership limitations are also inplace to protect market share for new applicants. Following theawarding of the next round of dispensary licenses, the state willalso conduct a disparity study to ensure the market reflects theequity goals of the historic legislation.

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A total of 25% of cannabis sales tax revenues will support theRestore, Reinvest and Renew (R3) program, which aims to address theimpact of economic disinvestment, violence and the historicaloveruse of the criminal justice system, state officials note. TheDepartment of Revenue expects to have a tax revenue estimate by theend of February, when initial tax payments from dispensaries aredue.

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John Jordan

John Jordan is a veteran journalist with 36 years of print and digital media experience.