Quick Facts on Cannabis

On January 1, 2020, the sale and consumption of recreational cannabis became legal throughout the State of Illinois. The City of Chicago has its own laws and ordinances regarding the use of recreational cannabis (as well as medicinal cannabis), and we wanted to share them with you.

The City's official Cannabis Information Center can be accessed here. If you wish to read the Cannabis Zoning Ordinance approved by the City Council in October 2019, you may do so here; or, access the city-wide zoning map and get a more detailed look at the Downtown Cannabis Zone Exclusion Area. The Department of Planning and Development (DPD) maintains a webpage listing notices of cannabis business establishment applications hereThe City has also launched a public engagement portal to solicit complaints, feedback, and other input. It contains a Frequently Asked Questions page, which we have recreated below. It is separately accessible here.

Remember: while cannabis is legal in Illinois, it remains illegal under federal law. If you are a non-citizen, working in the cannabis industry or consuming/possessing cannabis could impact your immigration or citizenship status. Consult an immigration attorney if you are a non-citizen with concerns about any potential impacts that working in the cannabis industry may have on your status.

If you have questions about how any of this pertains specifically to the West Loop, email us at info@westloop.org or give us a call at 312.666.1991. We're here to help answer your questions.

Beginning January 1, 2020, at licensed dispensaries.

Adults over 21, with a valid ID.

Consumption in public is illegal. This includes streets, parks, and areas adjacent to dispensaries. Consumption on private property is permitted, subject to the discretion of the property owner. If you rent, check with your landlord.  Cannabis may not be consumed in any vehicle, regardless of whether it is running. Employers may mandate drug-free workplaces. 

Type of SubstanceIllinois ResidentsNon-residents
Cannabis30 grams15 grams
Cannabis-infused Products (edibles, salves, etc.)500 milligrams of THC250 milligrams of THC
Cannabis Concentrate (oils, creams, etc.)5 grams2.5 grams

An individual may possess up to the limitation for each category.

No. Driving under the influence of cannabis is illegal and constitutes a DUI. Cannabis may not be consumed in any vehicle, regardless of whether it is running.

Cannabis can be transported in a vehicle but during transportation cannabis cannot be accessible by any occupant of the vehicle and must be in a child-resistant container. Cannabis cannot be transported to another state.

Dispensary locations must comply with zoning regulations, which include community input, to determine their location. The City of Chicago has created seven Cannabis Zoning Districts with a maximum limitation on how many dispensaries can be located in each district. This prevents over-saturation of the market in any given area of Chicago.

Cannabis dispensaries are prohibited in the following areas:

  1. Parts of the central business district;
  2. Within 500 feet of elementary and secondary schools; and
  3. Within 1,500 feet of another dispensary.

State law permits the operation of cannabis dispensaries between 6am and 10pm. 

The State of Illinois administers the licensure process for dispensaries and the City of Chicago regulates where the dispensaries are permitted to locate. The City does not determine which dispensary businesses are awarded licenses.

Yes, dispensary applicants are required to have a public meeting to explain propossed dispensary locations and solicit comments. Registered voters may also use an opt-out petition process, through the City Clerk, to prohibit dispensaries in their precinct. For more information on public input, please visit the public engagement section of this webpage

Medical cannabis patients may grow up to 5 cannabis plants for personal use. However, home grow is not allowed for non-patients.

For a non-emergency complaint, please dial 311 or visit the 311 website. In case of an emergency, please dial 911.

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