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Adult Use Cannabis FAQ

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On January 1, 2020, the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act will be put into effect in the State of Illinois. This act legalizes possession and use of cannabis for adults 21 and over and allows for the sale of cannabis and cannabis products by a licensed business. The City of Evanston is one of a few northern suburbs that will permit the sale of adult use cannabis.

How old do you have to be to use cannabis?
The use of cannabis will be legal for state residents age 21 and over. 

Where is consumption allowed?
Personal cannabis use will be allowed in most private residences.

Where is consumption prohibited?

  • Public places, defined as “any place where a person could reasonably be expected to be observed by others.” This does not include residences or cannabis establishments locally authorized for on-site consumption.

  • School grounds

  • “In close proximity” to persons under 21

  • Anywhere that is prohibited by the Smoke Free Illinois Act

Who can sell cannabis legally and where can it be purchased?
Individuals will be able to purchase cannabis or cannabis-related products from a business licensed by the State of Illinois. These businesses are referred to as dispensaries. 

The City of Evanston currently has one dispensary, located at 1804 Maple Ave., doing business as Verilife. This business currently sells medical cannabis, and beginning January 1, 2020 it will also sell recreational cannabis. Additional dispensaries may open in the future upon zoning approval.  

Is onsite cannabis consumption allowed at Evanston businesses?
No onsite consumption will be permitted at this time.

How will it be taxed?
The total taxation in the City of Evanston through various taxes, including the municipal tax, will be 40 to 45 percent of the purchase price. See below for a summary of taxes assessed: 

  • Cultivation – 7 percent on wholesale (State tax) and applies to cultivators, craft growers, or processors who sell to dispensing organizations

  • Dispensaries – Cannabis Purchaser Excise Tax (State)

    • 10 percent on raw cannabis

    • 20 percent on all cannabis infused products

    • 25 percent on raw cannabis with THC above 35 percent

  • Municipal Tax: 3 percent of the retail purchase price

  • County Cannabis Tax: 3 percent incorporated areas and 3.75 percent unincorporated areas

  • Existing state, county, and local sales taxes will also apply 

How do I apply to open a cannabis business? 
Those interested in opening a cannabis business should first contact the State of Illinois for necessary requirements and to receive guidance and an application. The next step is to contact the City of Evanston Zoning Office with a proposed location.  

Can cannabis be consumed at work?
The Act permits an employer to utilize a Zero Tolerance Policy, meaning no cannabis consumption. It is recommended that individuals check with their employer and the personnel manual. 

How much cannabis can an individual possess?
Illinois residents will be permitted to possess up to 30g of flower/raw cannabis, 5g of concentrated cannabis, and 500mg of infused cannabis products. Non-Illinois residents will be permitted to have half these amounts. 

Can individuals grow their own cannabis?
Only medical cannabis patients are permitted to grow marijuana at home. They may grow up to five plants that are five inches or taller per household. 

Can cannabis be consumed in a vehicle?
Consumption of cannabis in a vehicle is strictly prohibited. Cannabis transported in a vehicle must be in a sealed, odor proof, and child-resistant cannabis container and reasonably inaccessible. 

What are the penalties for violating cannabis restrictions?
Those violating the restrictions of the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act are subject to the penalties under the cannabis control act and/or relevant Evanston City ordinances. 

Additional Resources

Let's Talk Cannabis, funded by the Illinois Department of Human Services, Division of Substance Use Prevention and Recovery.