Legal Doesn't Mean Easy: Cannabis Dispensaries Still Face Challenging Landscape – Bisnow


Illinois legalized adult-use cannabis nearly nine months ago, but making it legal didn’t transform weed into a normal product. Retailers and growers are still subject to an array of regulations and requirement no other business has to deal with, and as state officials learn more about how to make legalized cannabis work, providers need to be prepared for constant changes.

“It’s not just COVID that threw us for a loop,” Green Thumb Industries Senior Vice President Dina Rollman said last week during Bisnow’s Chicago Deep Dish: Cannabis Real Estate webinar.    

Courtesy of Englewood Construction

Windy City Cannabis at 923 West Weed St. in Chicago.

“Every day, regulations are changing and changing quickly,” Cresco Labs Executive Vice President John Sullivan added.

Both Cresco and Green Thumb are publicly traded firms that operate cannabis retail dispensaries and growing operations. 

This week, Illinois officials said they were going to let some recent unsuccessful adult-use applicants make changes and resubmit their applications, according to Marijuana Business Daily. Officials had announced finalists this month for 75 “social equity” licenses, ones meant to bring in groups harmed by the so-called war on drugs, but some applicants said they were not allowed to make corrections before submitting paperwork, while others were.

Rollman and Sullivan said making it through such uncertainty requires a lot of lawyers, accountants, real estate experts and many other professionals who can keep abreast of and navigate through the thickets of regulations.

“Know what you don’t know,” Freeborn & Peters partner Anthony Zeoli said. “Being in an industry that is emerging gives us the ability to be unique and help with these creative problems. That’s why I like it.”  

“It’s all-consuming, the cannabis industry, to say the least,” Sullivan said. “So it’s important to be well-capitalized.”

MBRE Executive Vice President David

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