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First Social Equity Craft Marijuana Grower To begin Operations in Illinois

The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) announced on Monday, the 8th of October 2022, that Illinois had issued Operational Permits to the first social equity craft grower and infuser licenses. The IDOA issued an operational permit to Star Buds, IL.

Monday, the 8th of October 2022, saw the beginning and the launch of Star Buds IL, the state of Illinois’ first cannabis social equitable licensed craft grower in operation.

State Senator Steve Stadelman stated that “We want to make sure that those who have been affected by the War on Drugs, and local and federal law enforcement, the history of marijuana and cannabis, should be able to benefit from the profits that come with the implementation of the new state cannabis program.”

With the issuing of the social equity craft growers and infuser license, Star Buds IL has successfully commenced business operations. The company is located in Rockford and is 66% African-American-owned.

social equity craft growers and infuser license

Governor JB Pritzker congratulated Star Buds IL and the other social equity craft grow licensees who will soon be opening their doors, and further commented that it is, “Thanks to the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, that has allowed 100% of Illinois Craft Grow Licensees to qualify as social equity applicants.”

Pritzker further stated that the issuing of the licenses is how the state builds an equitable cannabis industry and can start to repair the damage done by the War on Drugs campaign within communities of color.

According to a recent press release, Star Buds and 67% of the other licenses identified as non-white in the last 2021-licensing cohort. Out of the 48 craft grow licenses issued by the department of agriculture in July 2022:

    • 8% are owned by partnership groups.
    • 8% (4 licenses) are majority Hispanic-owned.
    • 36% (17 licenses) are majority white-owned.
    • 42% (20 licenses) are majority African-American-owned.

Director of the agriculture department, Jerry Costello II, mentioned that Star Buds IL is the first of the 342 cannabis and marijuana licensees that have been issued by the department in the last year to open their doors and hopes that there will be dozens more who will be joining them by opening for business.

Since the beginning of 2021, the DOA has issued,

    • 88 craft grow licenses
    • 54 infuser licenses
    • 189 transporter licenses

In addition to these licenses being issued, the state approved ten community colleges to take part in a Community College Cannabis Vocational Training Pilot Program and the addition to the 21 existing Early Approval Adult Use Cultivation Centers. These centers were previously approved by the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program.

Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton states, “Illinois is showing a commitment to creating an environment centred around righting the wrongs committed in the past and developing opportunities that will make a brighter future for all of Illinois. The mission of the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act is to do what we are achieving, and we will continue to guide our efforts in building the state of Illinois’ cannabis and marijuana industry.”

The Illinois Adult-Use Cannabis Social Equity Program allows businesses to receive additional consideration for licensing if 51% of the business owner is composed of people impacted by the War on Drugs. The Pritzker Administration has recently come under heavy criticism for its lack of social equity cannabis licenses issued within the cannabis-growing industry.

Illinois DOA director Jerry Costello stated that the expected cannabis-related revenues in 2023 are roughly $445 million. He said that businesses that will be licensed would help create thousands of well-paying jobs across the state, and the generated revenue will be reinvested directly into the state’s impacted communities.

The craft grower license allows recipients to grow and cultivate cannabis products for recreational use and further supply medical marijuana dispensaries across Illinois. Facilities are expected to create 50 additional jobs within the market, and when in full operation, the facilities should be able to produce at least 500 square feet of cannabis canopy.

The complete list of licensees is available on the department’s website.

craft grower license allows recipients grow cultivate cannabis products


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