Whether it is in the form of concentrate or edible, consumers are continuing to explore cannabis products. However, the flower is losing market share as users frequently seek other extraction forms.


In Illinois, the state’s legal marijuana industry is dominated by large, multistate operations. Amid the boom in sales, these companies have amassed a considerable market share and are favored mainly to receive early recreational licenses over more minor applicants.

This gives them a distinct advantage when it comes to selling across borders. As the industry grows, many leverage their larger size to acquire competitors and enter new markets. This has created a cannabis landscape where the most prominent players have a clear size advantage over their smaller competition and can leverage that to dominate their new markets.


While cannabis businesses are thriving in Chicago, some entrepreneurs face steep barriers to entry. One is money. Chicago’s 3% tax on recreational pot—on top of state, local, and RTA sales taxes—can be prohibitive.

The city also doesn’t have “special consumption areas,” like bars that allow customers to smoke weed. Instead, private residences are the primary place for adults to consume marijuana.

Best dispensaries in Chicago are businesses or establishments authorized to sell cannabis and cannabis-related products to consumers for medical or recreational use, depending on the jurisdiction’s laws.


Cannabis business owners in Chicago must comply with state regulations and local ordinances. For example, it is illegal to consume recreational weed on public property, but private property owners may have their smoking policies. It’s also important to understand that Chicago requires a permit before opening a cannabis business, and it can be challenging to get one.

The state’s social equity program allows disadvantaged communities to access more licenses. Businesses with majority ownership by people living in areas deemed disproportionately affected by the war on drugs or those arrested for or convicted of certain cannabis-related offenses are considered social equity applicants. They can receive additional points in the licensing process.

Some of the largest cannabis companies have headquarters in Chicago, and the city has seen a surge in tech startups that help businesses comply with state and city regulations.

Community Engagement

Community engagement involves informing, inviting, empowering, and collaborating with communities to generate solutions and jointly tackle community issues. It builds trusting relationships and a shared understanding of the issue at hand.

Community-based organizations and public decision-making entities benefit from community engagement. Getting involved with community change also helps develop leadership and strengthens communities’ social fabric.

Despite lawsuits and delays, the state in mid-August finished awarding 185 licenses to operate cannabis dispensaries. Some of the winners received “social equity” licenses, which require them to employ a majority of employees from disproportionately impacted neighborhoods or have a history of cannabis arrests or convictions.

But symbolic gestures like these aren’t enough to create accurate equity, mainly when the cannabis industry generates profits that can be reinvested in the communities most harmed by the war on drugs. The only way to ensure that Black Chicago gets its piece of the pie is to involve the community from the start.