Your Illinois News Radar » Cannabis roundup – The Capitol Fax Blog

* Sun-Times

Having a pot-related arrest or conviction used to be a liability for Illinoisans seeking employment. Now, a criminal record might lead to a job in the legal industry.

HempStaff, a Miami-based recruitment and training agency, launched a new division last month to help cannabis firms in Illinois and five other states hire employees that meet certain social equity requirements, including those with pot offenses on their records.

A news release from HempStaff said the company hopes to help those folks “find their dream opportunities.” But there’s also benefits for employers.

Under Illinois’ legalization law, budding “ganjapreneurs” vying for licenses to sell and grow recreational weed can get an edge in the application process if most of their employees have been arrested for or convicted of a cannabis offense that’s eligible for expungement, live in an area “disproportionately impacted” by past drug policies or have an affected family member.

* Tribune

Illinois gave two more marijuana facilities approval to grow weed for recreational customers, with just two months to go before sales start next year.

The licenses went to Wellness Group Pharms in Anna and GTI Rock Island, which is run by Chicago-based Green Thumb Industries. Both already grow cannabis for medical patients, and join seven other facilities that got the state’s OK in September to also grow recreational pot.

The state law allows the existing 21 grow facilities to be the first to produce recreational pot, and it was largely expected most would opt to do so. But the companies need state approval. The licenses, which will continue to be issued, will help determine which products customers see on store shelves when recreational sales start next year.

The law does not allow any more large cultivators to supply the Illinois market until 2021 at the earliest, and then only if demand warrants them.

* Speaking of demand

Get ready for some very long lines if you’re planning to buy marijuana in Chicago on Jan. 1, when recreational sales become legal.

Under new rules issued [last week] for a lottery process that will be used for new dispensaries, only the 11 existing medical locations are likely to be available to serve recreational customers on New Year’s Day.

Once it became clear that the city was going to take a go-slow approach to marijuana, including controversial zoning laws that prohibit retail sales from much of downtown, cannabis companies have been quietly speculating that there might not be any new dispensaries open in the city by Jan. 1.

A lottery held Nov. 15 will determine the order in which existing medical license holders can seek new recreational-dispensary locations in seven districts of the city. Winners would then have to submit applications to the Zoning Board of Appeals to receive special-use permits to open a dispensary. Before receiving approval, license seekers would have to hold public meetings to get community input on opening a retail dispensary.

* Related…

* Law firms getting over their fear of cannabis

* Illinois marijuana law aims to undo harm of war on the drug

* Where to buy recreational cannabis in Central Illinois? Some cities are still deciding

* Illinois colleges face medical cannabis conundrum

* Barrington officials not hearing a whole lot from residents, stakeholders on cannabis dispensaries: Village leaders

* Sycamore City Council to look at recreational marijuana again

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