Before close of business on Wednesday, September 24, state officials in Illinois announced the number of grower and dispensary applications it received for its Medical Cannabis Pilot Program. According to the Associated Press, “more than 350 groups have applied to be the first to legally grow or sell medical marijuana in Illinois.”
The breakdown: 158 cultivation center applications and 211 dispensary applications. With 369 players vying to qualify, the state just hauled in $5,005,000 in fees. Cultivation centers are competing for 21 available permits and dispensaries are competing for 60 available permits.
The 14-day application window opened on September 8. As the September 22 deadline approached, applicants were scrambling to get in before the window closed. “The last two weeks have been crazy,” Neil Khot, a technology professional from Hoffman Estates, told The Chicago Tribune. “I worked straight for three continuous days hardly sleeping,” Khot added.
The application process allows Illinois “to pick the most qualified applicants,” according to Bob Morgan, coordinator of the state’s medical cannabis pilot program.
The demand for a prosperous cannabis program goes beyond access to medicine. “Obviously there is an economic interest to get into this marketplace,” said Dan Linn, Executive Director of Illinois NORML. If the collected application fees are any indication, Illinois may have a bountiful spring in 2015.