Coronavirus and Cannabis: Illinois Regulatory Updates

By Sahar Ayinehsazian and Kelsey Middleton

Mar 20, 2020

This VS Insight is dedicated to updates regarding the coronavirus and cannabis in Illinois. For updates on other states or coronavirus-related issues, see our main post on the subject, "Coronavirus and Cannabis: Monitoring the Impact."

Cannabis regulations are in flux across the U.S. as officials at every level of government work to contain the new coronavirus (COVID-19). Vicente Sederberg is closely monitoring the situation, and we are communicating with regulators to understand how these local, state and federal responses may affect cannabis business operators, medical patients, and other cannabis consumers. We are committed to doing everything we can to keep our clients and the public updated as we learn of new developments, but please note this is an extremely fluid situation and there is a lot we do not know. This VS Insights post is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal or tax advice. We strongly encourage you to contact an attorney if you are seeking advice regarding any specific legal or tax issue.


LATEST UPDATES

March 28, 2020

  • Governor Pritzker signed Executive Order Number 17 that extends the deadline to submit applications for cannabis infuser, craft grower, and transporter licenses from March 30 to April 30. The order also directs applicants to submit completed applications via mail. 

March 20, 2020

  • Gov. Pritzker issued an Executive Order that instituted a “stay at home” order prohibiting activities such as visiting other people’s homes and avoiding gatherings of more than ten people. The order also closes all nonessential businesses. Cannabis dispensing organizations and cultivation facilities are deemed essential business. The order is effective through April 7, 2020.

March 17, 2020

  • The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) issued COVID-19 Guidance for Cannabis Dispensaries

  • Per the guidance, dispensaries may continue medical cannabis sales to medical cannabis patients, Opioid Alternative Pilot Program (OAPP) participants, and caregivers outside of a limited access area until March 30th, 2020. In doing so, dispensaries must ensure compliance with the following guidelines:

    • Exchanges of cash and product must occur on dispensary property, on a public walkway, or at the curb of the street adjacent to the dispensary (curbside delivery).

    • Dispensaries may not deliver cannabis to a patient or caregiver’s home.

    • The patient or caregiver’s identification card must be scanned before purchase and tracked in BioTrackTHC.

    • Taking preventative measures such as not requiring patients and/or caregivers to physically hand over their ID cards to agents for scanning, wearing gloves while handling cash, and giving employees frequent breaks to thoroughly wash hands is encouraged.

    • Cash must be taken into the dispensary after each transaction.

    • Security must be present for outdoor exchanges.

  • To be clear, dispensaries may continue to engage in adult use sales at this time. However, the “outdoor sales” model may only be used for medical cannabis transactions.

  • In addition to the variances provided above, IDFPR recommends continued enforcement of social distancing and sanitary practices.

March 9, 2020

  • Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation in response to COVID-19 to assist Illinois agencies in coordinating state and federal resources to support local governments in undertaking any action necessary to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 in Illinois.