Cannabis License Opportunities in the Midwest For Q3 2023

The Best In The Midwest for Cannabis Updates

There is no shortage of news in cannabis nationwide, with major updates from Nevada to New York coming out weekly, even daily it seems. With all that is happening, it’s good to look at developments at a more regional level and see where there are upcoming cannabis license opportunities in some surrounding states. Today we’re diving into the Midwest (plus another state given some exciting news there we couldn’t NOT cover here) and highlighting some exciting developments happening and that are on the horizon in these central states. 

Michigan Cannabis Updates

The Wolverine State has had a medical cannabis market since 2008 and an adult-use market since 2018. Surely by now with this more mature market there can’t be that many major updates, right? Detroit has other ideas. 

With over 600,000 people and three times larger than Michigan’s second largest city, Detroit is set to drastically expand its cannabis presence by green lighting 50 additional cannabis businesses. This will be the second of three planned application windows aiming to award up to 100 retail cannabis dispensary licenses along with 30 for microbusiness, and 30 for consumption establishments. During this thirty-day application window, the city will be accepting applications for 30 dispensaries, 10 microbusinesses, and 10 consumption establishments. Half of these licenses will be going to social equity applicants. Requirements social equity applicants include having lived in a community disproportionately impacted by the prohibition of cannabis or having been convicted of a past cannabis-related offense. This is a massive expansion given that right now, Detroit has just 36 adult-use dispensaries. 

While Michigan has had a flourishing cannabis marketplace for a while, Detroit is another story. Detroit cannabis businesses have experienced delay after delay as the City Council sought to award licenses for Detroiters. But, thankfully, another window has opened and the time to put your business idea in motion is now. Get started on your Detroit cannabis business today.

Minnesota Cannabis Updates

Earlier this year, Minnesota Governor Tim Waltz signed legislation which will enact a sweeping 320-page bill to legalize cannabis in the state, making it the 23rd state in the country to do so. Things are moving fast in the Land of 10,000 Lakes as the state’s Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) was formally established on July 1. They will oversee the regulatory framework for the adult-use program as well as the state’s medical cannabis and hemp programs

The state is going all out with licenses by offering an astonishing 15 different license types. Some are standard (cultivation, retail, manufacturing), but there are a few unique license types worth mentioning. The one which caught our attention most was the incredibly named “mezzobusiness.” This license allows for cultivation (up to 15,000 square feet), manufacturing, and selling cannabis products. It’s similar to a micro, but larger. There will also be licenses for event organizers; good for four days and allows for changed entrance fees for cannabis consumption in an on-site consumption area (if the municipality approves).

There will be a Division of Social Equity within the Office of Cannabis Management and social equity applicants will be eligible not only to receive special legislative grants, but also priority in the application process. This is geared towards not only those with past cannabis convictions and residents of communities disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition, but also farmers from underrepresented communities and veterans or active military members who lost honorable status due to an offense involving the possession or sale of cannabis.

There will also be an upcoming Lucky Leaf Expo in Minneapolis in April 2024 which we’re sure will be a great opportunity to network and meet with others eager to get into the cannabis space and support local businesses.

Illinois Cannabis Updates

The largest Midwest state with over 12.7 million people calling it home, Illinois has already has a great first half of 2023 when it comes to cannabis. Illinois cannabis retailers have outsold every month of 2023 compared to 2022 with total adult-use sales surpassing $650 million from January to May. Governor J.B. Pritzker also signed legislation which not only contained language directing funding to a cannabis development fund and extends a deadline for conditional licensees to find storefronts, but also allows licensed businesses to take state tax deductions. We also recently saw the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation (IDFPR) extend cannabis curbside pickup for medical patients for the third time. 

But what can you be doing in Illinois or if you want to get started in the Illinois cannabis marketplace? There are application windows which the IDFPR will announce, with one occurring earlier this year to award 55 additional retail licenses. A lottery will be used to determine the most recent winners, all these being for social equity applicants. A full list of all applicants is available and we anticipate more such windows and lotteries to come in the future. Interested in opening up business in Illinois? Be sure to stay on top of announcements and updates through the IDFPR website, sign up for quarterly newsletters, and read the state’s annual reports to see if Illinois is the right state for you to operate in and know when to submit the required materials for the next application window, likely to come next year.

Kentucky Cannabis Updates

Yes, we know, Kentucky is not a Midwest state, but so many opportunities have become present here, we couldn’t resist including it. In March of this year, Governor Andy Beshear signed Senate Bill 47 to legalize medical cannabis in the commonwealth. Various laws also took effect on June 30, including regulations relating to delta-8 THC. The Cabinet for Health and Family Services will be responsible for the implementation, operation, oversight and regulation of the state’s new medical program with patients suffering from one of the following medical conditions being able to secure a medical card: any type or form of cancer regardless of stage; chronic, severe, or debilitating pain; epilepsy or any other seizure disorder, multiple sclerosis or other muscle spasm conditions, chronic nausea, or post-traumatic stress disorder. 

While we still have a ways to go before the state program is fully in effect, now is the best time to start gearing up for conferences and industry events, beginning financial modeling and business planning, and laying the groundwork for your venture.

Start Your Midwest Cannabis Business Today

With decades of experience in the industry, our cannabis consulting and licensing experts have the tools and resources you need to put your cannabis business on the map. Whether you’re in a state with a an existing program, future development, or just looking to take advantage of multi-state operator opportunities, we can help streamline the process and give you fighting chance at winning a license. Don’t wait until the competition ramps up. Start planning your application with our team now and let’s build the Midwest cannabis industry together.

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