Starting a Cannabis-Related Business The State of Illinois controls the licensure process for cannabis businesses. The State has authority to authorize licenses for several types of cannabis Cannabis Seeds Chicago The Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act states that “adult registered qualifying patients MAY purchase cannabis seeds from a dispensary for the purpose of home SEED™ Our mission for SEED™ is to develop tangible pathways into the cannabis industry for communities impacted by the War on Drugs through our three pillars: restorative justice, community
Starting a Cannabis-Related Business
The State of Illinois controls the licensure process for cannabis businesses. The State has authority to authorize licenses for several types of cannabis businesses, ranging from cultivation centers to dispensing organizations. Information on the State’s application process for dispensaries can be found here. The City of Chicago is not directly involved in the State’s licensure process.
The process for creating cannabis businesses varies but generally requires obtaining licensure from the State and zoning compliance with the Zoning Board of Appeals. A brief summary of the requirements for each type of licensed cannabis business is provided below.
Function: Dispensing organizations acquire cannabis from licensed entities for the purpose of selling or dispensing cannabis products to adults over the age of 21.
Licensure: The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation regulates dispensary licenses and more information on the agency’s licensure process can be found agency’s licensure process can be found here.
Zoning: Dispensaries must be classified as a “special use” by the Zoning Board of Appeals, which has a lottery process for dispensary approval. The cannabis zoning ordinance and state law also provide dispensaries cannot be located within: (1) 500 feet of an elementary or secondary school, (2) 1,500 feet of another dispensary, or (3) parts of the central business district. On November 15, 2019, the Board held the first lottery for existing medical cannabis dispensaries only. As the amount of permissible dispensaries increases under state law and the Municipal Code, the Board may hold subsequent lotteries for the approval of additional dispensaries.
Function: Craft growers are authorized to cultivate, dry, cure, and package cannabis as well as perform other necessary activities to make cannabis available. Currently, Craft growers may only contain up to 5,000 square feet of cannabis canopy space.
Licensure: The Illinois Department of Agriculture administers craft grower licenses and provides the license application period will be available January 7, 2020, through March 30, 2020.
Zoning: Craft growers must be classified as a “special use” by the Zoning Board of Appeals. More information on the Board and applying for a “special use” can be found here
Function: Infusers incorporate cannabis or cannabis concentrates to produce cannabis-infused products 
Licensure: The Illinois Department of Agriculture administers infuser licenses and provides the license application period will be available January 7, 2020, through March 30, 2020.
Zoning: Infusers must be classified as a “special use” by the Zoning Board of Appeals. More information on the Board and applying for a “special use” can be found here.
Function: Businesses that transport cannabis on behalf of cannabis business establishments or a licensed community college vocational program.
Licensure: The Illinois Department of Agriculture administers transporter licenses and provides the license application period will be available January 7, 2020, through March 30, 2020.
Function: Cultivation centers are authorized to cultivate, process, transport (unless limited by law), and perform other necessary activities to provide cannabis products to cannabis business establishments.
Licensure: The Illinois Department of Agriculture has processed Early Approval Adult Use Cultivation Center licenses, which apply to existing medical cultivation centers seeking authority to cultivate for recreational purposes. For more information on subsequent cultivation licenses please call the Department at 217.782.2172.
Zoning: Cultivation centers must be classified as a “special use” by the Zoning Board of Appeals. More information on the Board and process for applying for a “special use” can be found here
 A cannabis-infused product is a product containing cannabis that is not intended to be smoked, such as food, topical formations, etc.
Cannabis Seeds Chicago
The Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act states that “adult registered qualifying patients MAY purchase cannabis seeds from a dispensary for the purpose of home cultivation. Seeds may not be given or sold to any other person.”
Our interpretation of this language is that patients may choose to purchase seeds from dispensaries, however, they are not required or limited to only purchasing seeds from dispensaries. With that being said, below are several seed banks and breeders you may want to consider to begin your seed collection.
While this is not a comprehensive list by any means, you cannot go wrong with these reputable sources, providing discreet shipping.
Reputable Seed Banks & Breeders
The Attitude Seed Bank (UK)
One of the largest online seed banks based out of UK. Searchable database of breeders and seeds, including past cannabis cup winners.
Royal Queen Seeds (UK)
Reputable old school seed bank from UK.
Fast Buds (UK)
Good source of autoflowering varieties. Breeder and seed bank.
Greenhouse Seed Co. (NL)
World renowned cannabis breeder with several Cannabis Cup winning strains.
Nirvana Seed bank (NL)
Reputable online seed bank providing mail orders since the 1980s.
Great Lakes Genetics (US)
Located in the Midwest. Well-reviewed USA seed bank and breeder.
Neptune Seed Bank (US)
Located in California. Large selection of US breeders.
Kannabia Seeds (ES)
Reputable seed bank and breeder located in Spain.
Our mission for SEED™ is to develop tangible pathways into the cannabis industry for communities impacted by the War on Drugs through our three pillars: restorative justice, community business incubation, and education & workforce development.
Through SEED’s™ continued work, our vision is to repair the damage done by our nation’s drug policies, while serving as champions of change by molding an equitable and inclusive cannabis industry of the future.
Living SEED’s™ mission through our three pillars:
Through our restorative justice initiatives, we commit to elevating people whose lives have been impacted by the War on Drugs by working to remedy those harms. SEED’s™ restorative justice programming includes:
– Expungement Events
– Lobbying to progress and change the nation’s drug laws
– Working to ensure that no person remains in prison for a cannabis conviction
Community Business Incubator
The Community Business Incubator is designed to empower and jumpstart the creation of minority owned cannabis businesses. SEED™ provides both the technical and financial assistance necessary to apply, open and operate a cannabis business.
The Community Business Incubator serves entrepreneurs negatively impacted by the War on Drugs, who are interested in starting their own cannabis business or expanding their current business into the cannabis industry. SEED™ provides a two-phase incubator that offers key insights into technical application writing, operational knowledge and financial assistance to these entrepreneurs.
Education and Workforce Development
SEED’s™ Education and Workforce Development Pillar develops cannabis programming tailored to communities disproportionally impacted by the War on Drugs. This curriculum was designed to help individuals develop the skills needed to strategically and successfully enter the cannabis industry. SEED™ builds collaborative relationships with colleges and universities to develop course work to educate and prepare students for careers in the growing cannabis industry.
Cresco Labs staff serve on the Olive Harvey Cannabis Advisory Council, as adjunct faculty, and as a community partner. The SEED™ Initiative assisted Olive Harvey in developing Chicago’s first a Cannabis Specialist credit-bearing program.
Cresco Labs staff serves on the Moraine Valley curriculum committee and assisted with the development of their Retail Cannabis Retail Specialist Certificate.
2019/2020 Milestones & Achievements
- Facilitated 22 restorative justice activations across Illinois, California and Pennsylvania
- Contributed over 90 hours staffing expungement events
- Helped provide expungement opportunities to over 1,000 individuals
- Organized eight community and workforce development initiatives
- Consulted and wrote curriculum with 5 universities and colleges
- Supported 8 workforce development organizations
- Organized 13 incubator events
- Incubated businesses and a total of 255 individuals over Illinois’ two application periods
- Volunteered 2,271 staff hours across every Cresco discipline to work with the incubator candidates
Learn more about our direct impact during 2019 and 2020 in SEED’s™ first Annual Report detailing these and other efforts dedicated to the program’s success.
Learn more about our direct impact in 2019 and 2020 in SEED’s first Annual Report detailing these and other efforts dedicated to the program’s success.
Cabrini Green Legal Aid
SEED™ partners with Cabrini Green Legal Aid (CGLA) as part of a strong commitment to criminal justice reform and giving justice a voice. We were honored to be the 2020 recipient of their Bill Leslie Visionary award.
We provide funding to CGLA to help ensure that individuals with a criminal record as a result of the War on Drugs can get that record expunged.
We also help hundreds of individuals acquire their criminal history reports and create access to justice for individuals, families, and communities in the state of Illinois.