Prevent Multi-State Operators From Controlling Illinois Cannabis
Despite regarding itself as being the model for social equity in Cannabis, Illinois is on the fast track to having a Cannabis industry that is 100% controlled by wealthy multi-state operators. There are several loopholes in the state's current regulations that are easily capitalized upon by the well-funded. It is easy to see that "Social Equity Applicants" (as designated by the State of Illinois) are being taken advantage of by means of "Pass-through" ownership. Over the course of a few years, a small stake in ownership can easily evolve into total control and the "social equity applicant" who served as the face of the company initially will be right back where they started.
People of color are being exploited in a system that is praising
itself for protecting the best interest of that very population.
National and International commerce within Cannabis are quickly approaching, and from a cultivation perspective, Illinois will be irrelevant. On the current trajectory, the only players involved in Illinois will be mega-facilities competing solely on price. There is no differentiation between a large-scale automated grow in Illinois and a similar system setup in Utah. There is nothing "craft" about these highly machine-controlled operations.
As technology improves and automation continues, employment opportunities
within the legal cannabis industry will disappear. Those currently
seeking employment opportunities in Cannabis will once again be again pointed
in the direction of jobs not easily automated or completed by machines; like
the trades... Pipe-fitter, electrician, plumber, etc. This will come
after an abundance of wasted time, money and resources spent on cannabis
industry job training.
There is an opportunity here for Illinois to create a healthy industry, much similar to it's craft beer scene. This can be created only with the help of lawmakers. People from disproportionately impacted areas of Illinois need to be included. But more importantly, Cannabis enthusiasts and true artisans who were born and raised in the great State of Illinois deserve to have substantial ownership within the limited amount of licenses available. Only those mentioned, have the ability to create truly "CRAFT" products that will be highly regarded and sought after as legal cannabis expansion continues. Around the world, everyone knows Humboldt County in Cannabis, Napa in Wine, Kentucky in Whiskey, Chicago in Beer, Pizza, Sports, Hot Dogs and so many other amazing products. There is a very limited window in time for Cannabis to be added to this for Illinois... but lawmakers need to act now!
From a dispensary point of view, Illinois residents deserve the opportunity to shop at "Ma & Pa" retailers who give customers food for the soul; an artisanal shopping experience... culture! Illinoisans deserve owners who live in the community and care about their customers; not soulless McDonald's type franchises.
Illinois can build and nurture a vibrant and highly-regarded cannabis industry by implementing to the following measures:
1) All "Craft Grower", "Infuser" and "Transporter" licenses within the State of Illinois must be 100% owned and controlled by Illinois residents who have maintained their primary residence within the State of Illinois for the past 10 years. Any percentage ownership in Cannabis businesses outside of the State of Illinois will result in immediate forfeiture of the organization's license to operate a cannabis business within the State of Illinois.
2) 50% of all dispensary locations licensed within the State of Illinois must be 100% owned and controlled by Illinois residents who have maintained their primary residence within the State of Illinois for the past 10 years. Of these designated "Illinois Ownership Only" licenses, any percentage ownership in Cannabis businesses outside of the State of Illinois will result in immediate forfeiture of the organization's license to operate a cannabis business within the State of Illinois.
By including these two amendments into Illinois Cannabis regulations, the
state continues to allow large corporations to conduct substantial, profitable
business within the state. 100% of the large scale cultivation
centers can be owned by multi-state operators. 50% of the dispensaries
can be owned by multi-state operators.
However, the two aforementioned amendments guarantee that those who call Illinois home are afforded the opportunity to have OWNERSHIP in our home state's legal cannabis industry!