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Illinois Adult-Use Cannabis Social Equity Program

Pursuant to the Cannabis Regulation & Tax Act (“CRTA”) 410 ILCS 705, cannabis became legal for adult use in Illinois on January 1, 2020. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) mission under the CRTA is to develop accessible opportunities for technical assistance and access to capital for persons seeking to participate in the Illinois cannabis business industry, subject to appropriations from the Cannabis Business Development Fund. 

As part of these efforts, DCEO has developed a network of technical assistance providers that are available to assist social equity applicants in their quest to procure and retain a cannabis business license. Additionally, DCEO established the Social Equity Cannabis Loan Program for the purposes of providing financial assistance to social equity applicants.

Through its Illinois Adult-Use Cannabis Social Equity Program, DCEO is committed to connecting persons and communities that have been historically impacted by arrests and imprisonment for cannabis offenses to have opportunities to participate in the legal cannabis industry.

View the Administrative Rules for the Social Equity Cannabis Loan Program.

How do we support Social Equity Applicants (SEAs)?

Update: New Direct Forgivable Loan Program
As part of its commitment to expediently provide capital for conditionally-approved social equity licensees, DCEO recently Launched the Direct Forgivable Loan Program, which is fully financed by the state. Read more about the new program.

  • Provide technical assistance and individualized support through our partner network for pre- and post-licensing, legal assistance, and loan application assistance
  • Provide eligibility to receive 50 points (out of a possible total of 250 from IDFPR on their dispensary license application score or Receive 200 points (out of possible total 1000) from Illinois Department of Agriculture on their craft grower, infuser, or transporter license application score
  • Provide eligibility to pay reduced license and application fees
  • Provide access to low-interest loans for starting and operating a cannabis-related business