Illinois Potpreneurs Decry Fees

With an Illinois legislative committee expected to take a few months before finalizing the rules, state agencies might be in a position to start taking applications for patients and businesses this fall, Illinois Department of Public Health spokeswoman Melaney Arnold said. Consultants said it will take about three months to grow the first batch of pot.

Permits to begin growing or dispensing medical pot will be awarded based on a point system that has yet to be specified, Arnold said. Generally, each grow center must meet requirements for suitability, staffing, knowledge of laws and rules, product safety and a business plan, with an emphasis on cultivation and security.

Dispensaries must also meet requirements for suitability, business plan, knowledge and experience, with the tie-breaking factors being security and record keeping.

As the restrictions and fees stand, businesses should expect to lose money in the first two years because of significant required investment, said consultant Silvia Orizaba. Though Orizaba previously worked in the fitness industry, last year she founded the Medical Marijuana Institute. Despite the hurdles, she said she knows of proposals for dispensaries throughout the suburbs, including in Evanston, Deerfield, Downers Grove, Naperville, Niles and Skokie.

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