Illinois just legalized recreational cannabis. We assess the opportunities this change is creating for startups and incumbents alike.
Illinois just became the 11th US state to legalize recreational cannabis. Below, we dig into the legislative change to understand why the move matters and who could benefit.
3 big takeaways
- Businesses already licensed under Illinois’ medical cannabis pilot program (MCPP) have a head start — but their long-term success will depend on their ability to expand quickly.
- Growing the market by nearly 800% ($146M to $1.3B) by 2023 will require participation from new market entrants as well. Well-funded cannabis companies with multi-state business models are likely candidates.
- As cannabis legalization spreads, we can expect an uptick in funding and M&A activity over the next couple years.
After the Illinois senate failed to pass a cannabis legalization bill in 2018, Governor JB Pritzker made it a core component of his platform. Now, 6 months into office, he’s made Illinois the 11th state to legalize recreational cannabis sale and consumption — and the first state to do so via its legislature and not a ballot initiative.