Illinois Cannabis License Guidelines

Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation

Licensing and Enforcement Criteria

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) is charged under the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act with implementing and administrating multiple aspects of the adult-use cannabis program as well as the medical cannabis program, including the licensing and oversight of dispensing organizations, dispensary agents, and agent education providers.

The Department shall deny a license if any principal officer, board member, or person having a financial or voting interest of 5% or greater in the licensee is delinquent in filing any required tax returns or paying any amounts owed to the State of Illinois.

The IDFPR uses a scoring process to determine who qualifies for a license. IDFPR will award you up to 250 points if you provide a satisfactory application containing mandatory elements, including:

  • Your record keeping and security plans (awarded 65 points); This includes a plan showing how you intend to prevent theft or diversion of marijuana
  • Your general business and operating plans (awarded 65 points); This should show how you plan to manage your dispensary and should ideally include best practices from other dispensaries
  • Your knowledge and expertise in the dispensary business (30 points); and
  • A diversity plan (5 points).

An applicant that receives a Conditional Adult-Use Dispensing Organization License for a dispensary has 180 days from the date of the award to identify a physical location for the dispensing retail front.  If the applicant is unable to locate a suitable location within 180 days, the Department may extend the deadline if the applicant demonstrates concrete attempts to secure a location and hardship.

The Department shall deny an application if granting the application would result in a single person or entity having a direct or indirect financial interest in more than 10 licensed dispensing organizations.

Illinois Cannabis Law & Compliance

Several laws and ordinances regulate the Illinois medical and recreational cannabis industry, as well as the many different steps in the supply chain. These laws range over dispositions for cultivators, manufacturers, distributors and retail dispensaries. The most recent news can be found on these websites:


How can I apply for an Adult Use license/agent registration card?

Principal Officers must first complete all the required forms, submit the complete application packet including all the required supporting documentation to IDFPR for review, and may apply online only after approval and notification by the Department.

Agents and Agents-in-Charge (AIC) must first be employed by a cannabis dispensary prior to licensure. AICs may apply online for their own badge and must submit online applications on behalf of their agents. Agents cannot apply for their own license to be an Adult Use cannabis dispensing organization agent. Only Agents in Charge or Principal Officers who have valid Adult Use credentials can apply for adult use agents online

What do I need to do before applying for agent registration cards for myself and my employees?

AICs and Principal Officers must make sure that they have all the required documentation and fees listed below prior to submitting an application for themselves or on behalf of an agent. Incomplete applications will not be approved. The Department will not issue nor renew a dispensing agent identification card if the applicant is delinquent in filing any required tax returns or paying any amounts owed to the State of Illinois.

Are there fees to process an application?

Yes, $100 for new agent licenses and renewals, and $50 for late fees. These fees are not refundable.

What documentation and fees do I need to submit with a new online application?

  • A square or nearly square headshot on a white background (taken within the last 30 days) with a pixel ratio between 600×600 and 1200×1200,
  • ISP background verification document;
  • The receipt from your fingerprint vendor
  • Two proof of residence documents;
  • Government or state issued valid proof of identity;
  • Selection of Adult Use cannabis dispensing organization;
  • Sworn attestations(agents);
  • $100 application fee; and
  • If you have been arrested for any offense, a copy of the police report obtained from the Police Department; or
  • If you have been convicted of or adjudicated delinquent for any offense, a copy of the court disposition papers obtained from the county circuit court clerk or other judicial office.

When should I apply for my renewal?

All agent types may renew their own credentials online and must give IDFPR sufficient time to review and approve their renewal applications, therefore we recommend applying to renew your credential as soon as you receive a renewal notification from the Department but no later than 14 calendar days prior to the credential’s expiration date. At no point can an agent apply for renewal sooner than 45 days before the expiration of their license.

What documentation and fees do I need to submit with a renewal application?

  • A square or nearly square headshot on a white background (taken within the last 30 days) with a pixel ratio between 600×600 and 1200×1200;
  • A notarized and signed “No Subsequent Conviction Affidavit” or a notification of a new conviction or arrest if you have been arrested for or convicted of any offense since your last application or renewal;
  • Proof of residence as above, only if your address has changed;
  • Sworn attestations; and
  • $100 renewal fee.

How do I check the status of my application?

Agents-in-Charge or Principal Officers may log into their online account or call the Division’s Call Center at 1-800-560-6420 to check their application status. Agents-in-Charge may inquire on behalf of their agents.

How long does it take to receive my agent badge following IDFPR’s approval of my application?

Usually badges are mailed to your dispensary within 14 calendar days of approval.

What are the training requirements for an Adult Use dispensary agent?

Within 90 days of beginning employment, any dispensing organization Agent, Agent-in-Charge, or Principal Officer involved in the handling of cannabis must successfully complete a Responsible Vendor Program training from a training organization that has been approved by the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. A list of approved Responsible Vendors is available at

Additionally, each Agent, Agent-in-Charge, and Principal Officer must obtain 8 hours of annual training from the dispensing organization, which may include the Responsible Vendor training if the person has received such training. Anyone who must receive the Responsible Vendor Training must take the training annually within 90 days before their agent badge expires.

Can medical cannabis dispensing organization agents serve non-medical purchasers at the SameSite?

Yes, agents with medical cannabis dispensary agent identification cards can serve purchasers at an Early Approval Adult Use Dispensing Organization License located at the same site as the medical cannabis dispensary.

Can a medical cannabis dispensing organization agent serve purchasers at a secondary site?

Only if the Secondary Site is owned by the same entity as the medical cannabis dispensing organization at which the agent works. Section 15-40(h) provides, “A dispensing organization agent shall only be required to hold one card for the same employer regardless of what type of dispensing organization license the employer holds.”

Can an adult use dispensing organization agent serve medical cannabis patients at a medical cannabis dispensary if the medical cannabis dispensary does not have a license to sell adult use cannabis at the same site?

No. The definition of “dispensing organization” in the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act only includes dispensing organizations with Same Site or adult use dispensing organization licenses.

The definition does not include medical cannabis dispensing organizations that have not obtained a Same Site license. Because a medical cannabis dispensing organization without a Same Site license is not a “dispensing organization” under the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, Section 15-40(h) does not authorize the licensing of any individuals to work at a medical cannabis dispensing organization.

Can I be an Agent-in-Charge of more than one dispensary?

An agent-in-charge must be a full-time employee of the dispensary. As such, an agent-in-charge cannot be the agent-in-charge of more than one dispensary.

However, the agent-in-charge of a Medical Cannabis Dispensing Organization may serve as the agent-in-charge for an Adult Use Cannabis Dispensing Organization operating at the same site. If an AIC must travel to other locations, they must also possess an agent badge.

Illinois Cannabis License Types


A cannabis dispensary license authorizes an organization or business that is licensed by the IDFPR to acquire cannabis from state licensed cultivation centers, craft growers, processing organizations, or another dispensary for the purpose of selling or dispensing cannabis, cannabis-infused products, cannabis seeds, paraphernalia, or related supplies under the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act to purchasers or to qualified registered medical cannabis patients and caregivers.

Craft Grower

A facility operated by an organization or business that is licensed by the Department of Agriculture to cultivate, dry, cure, and package cannabis and perform other necessary activities to make cannabis available for sale at a dispensing organization or use at a processing organization. A craft grower may contain up to 5,000 square feet of canopy space on its premises for plants in the flowering state. The Department of Agriculture may authorize an increase or decrease of flowering stage cultivation space in increments of 3,000 square feet by rule based on market need, craft grower capacity, and the licensee’s history of compliance or noncompliance, with a maximum space of 14,000 square feet for cultivating plants in the flowering stage, which must be cultivated in all stages of growth in an enclosed and secure area. A craft grower may share premises with a processing organization or a dispensing organization, or both, provided each licensee stores currency and cannabis or cannabis-infused products in a separate secured vault to which the other licensee does not have access or all licensees sharing a vault share more than 50% of the same ownership.


A cannabis cultivation license authorizes a business to cultivate, process, transport (unless limited by law), and perform other necessary activities to provide cannabis products to cannabis business establishments. Cultivation centers must be classified as a “special use” by the Zoning Board of Appeals.


A license granted to a facility operated by an organization or business that is licensed by the Department of Agriculture to directly incorporate cannabis or cannabis concentrate into a product formulation to produce a cannabis-infused product.


An organization or business that is licensed by the Department of Agriculture to transport cannabis or cannabis-infused product on behalf of a cannabis business establishment or a community college licensed under the Community College Cannabis Vocational Training Pilot Program.


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