Illinois is going to hand out $8.75 million in loans to cannabis businesses

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The program will respond to social equity requirements in the state’s marijuana industry

Whoever plans to conduct cannabis operations in Illinois could expect a door full of opportunities. According to recent reports, the state indicates it has an $8.75 million loan fund ready for social equity cannabis enterprises. Simply put, all those businesses that have obtained a social equity license have interest-free forgivable loans available to them as they approach the deadline to open their doors.

Cannabis business enterprises have a deadline to open their doors this spring. If they qualify as a “minority business” they will be able to enjoy a state-backed lending facility. The news was unveiled by state officials Thursday, filling those entrepreneurs looking to take advantage of the lucrative market in The Prairie State with excitement.

The state is expected to benefit more than 30 businesses with “social equity” licenses to grow, sell, process, or transport cannabis and related products. The fund will come from the state Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and is intended to provide loans of up to $500,000 interest-free for 18 months to all eligible businesses.

“This is great news, but I will be waiting to see the implementation,” said Lisbeth Vargas Jaimes, executive director of the Illinois Independent Artisan Producers Association. “Everything with this process has taken a long time.”

Through funds like these, businesses will be able to address several key expenses, from payroll, to rent, to utility bills and other costs. Illinois has focused on this social equity licensing program in order to open up opportunities in the burgeoning legal cannabis industry to minority business owners whose communities bear the brunt of the cost of the war on illegal drugs.