The State of Cannabis Legislation & Licensing: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio

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As cannabis legalization continues to sweep the nation, so do legal updates in states with new and existing medical and adult-use markets. If you’re following the news about cannabis legalization in the midwestern United States, here’s an update on the news, legislation and licensing in the world of cannabis business in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois.

Cannabis Business Licensing Michigan

Recently, bipartisan legislation allowing Michigan’s state-licensed cannabis businesses to conduct trade with in-state tribal cannabis entities won approval from in the House of Representatives. The two bills, SB 180 and SB 179, will now proceed to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Michigan’s legal cannabis industry and tribal cannabis businesses on Indian lands “are currently in two separate silos, meaning that product cannot be sold between these businesses,” according to an analysis prepared by House staff. “The bills are intended to allow for the sale of product between the two types of businesses while maintaining a level playing field by requiring tribal businesses to pay the same tax rate as other businesses.”

Michigan cannabis business licensing permit holders have another helpful bill in the works, one that would allow students prescribed medical cannabis to consume while at school. The goal is to permit prescribed cannabis medication without academic interruption. State Rep. Jimmie Wilson Jr., a sponsor of the bill, noted that the proposal allows young medical cannabis patients to have their medication in school exactly the same way as anyone else with stored medications.

“The same way, whether it be in a nurse’s office or an administration office, they would go up and access their medication the same way anyone else would, and they would go back to class,” said Wilson Jr. Under current Michigan law, students must be checked out of school, taken at least 1,000 feet from the building for cannabis medicine consumption, and then checked back into school. Smokable cannabis would remain prohibited on school grounds.

Ohio Cannabis Business Licensing

On the Ohio cannabis business licensing front, dispensaries that have been granted medical retail licenses but have not yet opened for business will no longer lose their permits, so long as they open by December 31, 2023. This grace period is due to a provision in the Ohio budget signed into law in summer 2023, and should provide timeline relief for nearly 30 businesses awarded licenses in 2022 that have not yet begun retail operations. Aside from typical delays associated with opening a business, the potential for upcoming recreational legalization may be the reason for grand opening holds. Issue 2 will appear on the November 2023 ballot, and if passed, it would legalize and regulate recreational cannabis for adults aged 21 and above.

Kentucky Cannabis Business Licensing

Although the newly legalized medical program will not begin until 2025, a new government website has launched, which will track the upcoming implementation and initiatives as well as the creation of a workgroup to study cannabis policy developments in the state and the country.

Gov. Andy Beshear made the announcement to highlight, which already contains information relevant to prospective Kentucky cannabis business licensing “providers, growers, physicians, [nurse practitioners] and others with an interest in the program,” Beshear said. The 12-member “Team Kentucky Medical Cannabis Workgroup,” will “study the evolving medical cannabis industry policy and the state of medical cannabis policy in our Commonwealth and around the country.” He signed an executive order to establish the body.

Indiana Cannabis Business Licensing

Indiana lawmakers saw to it that nothing would change in the state’s non-existent legal cannabis industry, at least for one more year. All four cannabis reform bills filed this session were rejected, including one to decriminalize possession up to one ounce, a second to establish a medical cannabis program and a third to legalize adult-use cannabis and enact a retail tax structure. Senate committees also refused to hear a bill aimed to establish regulatory testing and packaging requirements for the sale and distribution of craft hemp flower. The measure would have also set age limits on low-THC cannabis products at 21 years old. Cannabis business licensing Indiana: dead for 2023.

Illinois Cannabis Business Licensing

Those holding Illinois cannabis business licensing permits and operating adult-use cannabis dispensaries in McHenry County are now required by the State Attorney Patrick Kenneally to display signs warning “cannabis use may contribute to mental health problems.” Businesses not in compliance could face consumer fraud lawsuits from Kenneally.

Kenneally defended the order in a Chicago Tribune op-ed by ascribing to a “growing body of research” that “cannabis can … initiate and worsen depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety and suicidal ideation, especially in young people.” He further claims “about half” of the county’s recent homicides “involve cannabis or cannabis-induced psychosis.” In response, the Illinois Cannabis Regulation Oversight Office said Gov. J.B. Pritzker was “disappointed to learn that the McHenry County state’s attorney prefers focusing on spreading disinformation instead of tackling the issues that actually keep residents safe. “Legalizing adult-use cannabis has always been about justice, safety and equity in Illinois,” the agency said in the statement.

Learn More About Indiana Cannabis Business Licensing and More at CannaCon

A lot happens at CannaCon, and one of those things is education. Register to attend the next CannaCon conference in your region to connect with growers, business owners, distributors and all other cannabis enthusiasts at the nation’s largest B2B cannabis trade show. Be part of the revolution and connect with likeminded people at a CannaCon event soon!

This article was originally published on May 6, 2019. It has been updated on October 17, 2023.


  1. Kenneth Brown on December 25, 2019 at 7:10 pm

    Would like to be one of the first to grow legalized marijuana in Kentucky

    • Jeremy Ewing on March 19, 2022 at 6:47 pm

      What’s a license going to cost to farm it ?

      • Rev on March 5, 2023 at 9:00 pm

        Class A Grower (up to 100 plants): $6,000 nonrefundable application fee, $4,000 initial licensure fee, and a renewal fee of $3,000 for the bottom 33%, $4,000 for the middle 33%, $5,000 for the top 33%. Class B Grower (up to 500 plants): $6,000 nonrefundable application fee, $8,000 initial licensure fee, and a renewal fee of $6,000 for the bottom 33%, $8,000 for the middle 33%, $10,000 for the top 33%. Class C Grower (up to 2,000 plants): $6,000 nonrefundable application fee, $40,000 initial licensure fee, and a renewal fee of $30,000 for the bottom 33%, $40,000 for the middle 33%, $50,000 for the top 33%. Excess Grower (holds 5 stacked Class C grower licenses): $6,000 nonrefundable application fee, $40,000 initial licensure fee, and a renewal fee of $30,000 for the bottom 33%, $40,000 for the middle 33%, $50,000 for the top 33%.

    • Stewart Stahr on November 24, 2022 at 7:38 am


  2. Joshua Lavigne on February 13, 2020 at 6:25 am

    I would like to be one of the first to own a dispensary in Allen county Kentucky

  3. Cole Sultemeier on April 3, 2021 at 10:24 pm

    I will be the first recreational dispensary and grower in indiana. Putting it into the universe.

  4. Jason O Martinez on August 25, 2021 at 6:34 pm

    I’m very interested in becoming one of the top growers and run a dispenser in Kentucky.

  5. Julie White on February 19, 2022 at 9:57 am

    I’m very interested in growing And selling mecical marijuana in KY. Also open a dispensary in KY would be a dream come true!!!

    • Chris Harrington on March 24, 2022 at 11:54 am

      I’ve been waiting for the day I can grow legally. I love to grow cannabis.

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