growing weed in illinois

Wonder where the recreational marijuana sold in Illinois comes from? Here’s how it’s grown.

All the marijuana sold in Illinois must be grown in the state, and less than two weeks into legal weed sales, customers are realizing growers’ limits.

Recreational marijuana sales started off strong on Jan. 1, but within days, some of the 37 dispensaries selling weed to the public had to stop because they ran out.

Many of the state’s 21 grow facilities are expanding capacity, but construction takes time, as does growing the marijuana. It can take four or five months for a plant to be ready to harvest, undergo processing and reach a store shelf.

Here’s how it’s grown.

It’s as sophisticated as winemaking

The marijuana sold in dispensaries is different from black market weed of the past. Growers play with genetics, creating strains that may be high in THC, a psychoactive compound, and low in CBD, a non-psychoactive compound, or vice versa.

They can play up certain flavors or smells and tinker with desired effects.

Once the weed is grown, harvested and dried, there is the extraction process, the first step in making marijuana-infused edibles, concentrates, bath bombs and more. The process is sophisticated, precise and scientific. Companies want to ensure customers have the same experience every time they eat a gummy or square of chocolate.

It’s grown all over the state

Marijuana growing facilities are scattered throughout Illinois, from Carbondale to Joliet, and Rock Island to Kankakee.

That’s because every facility was started under the medical cannabis program, which allowed one grow facility per Illinois police district.

More growers likely won’t enter the market until next year.

Sanitation standards are high

Grow facility workers are often required to wear scrubs or other protective gear. They must cover their shoes, hair and beards. Some facilities require everyone to walk through an anti-bacterial solution before entering the facility.

The goal is to make sure outside contaminants or pests don’t make it to the plants, and to avoid pesticides.

Most weed plants are cloned

Most marijuana plants in Illinois start as clones, taken from what is called a mother plant.

The growers pick a healthy, genetically strong plant to be the mother and clip off branches at a certain point. Those cuttings, or clones, are then stuck into dirt or some other nutritious growing material and babied until they take root and become strong on their own.

It’s all grown inside

All legal marijuana in Illinois is grown inside, and most growing facilities are nondescript, windowless warehouses.

Once the clones take root, they can be transplanted and moved to a growing room. The plants receive varying strengths of light, simulating the seasons and encouraging growth stages.

Workers wear sunglasses as they trim, feed and water the plants. The rooms are warm and humid, like marijuana rainforests. Different cannabis strains elicit earthy, citrusy or hoppy aromas. The scent becomes most pungent near harvest.

Eventually, the plants get 12 hours each of light and darkness, just like they would outside when summer starts to fade. That signals harvest time is approaching. Plants are harvested when the buds are at their peak and most pungent.

Workers harvest the plants by hand and hang the branches to dry.

Nothing is wasted

When the buds have dried, workers trim them by hand. Some are packaged and sold as flower, which consumers smoke. Others are sent for further processing.

Most grow facilities try not to waste any part of the plant. Trimmings can have compounds extracted for other infused products, and the residue that falls off flowers as they are trimmed can be rolled into joints or sold separately.

The scientists in grow facilities’ labs can extract nearly every cannabis compound out of the plant.

The resulting concentrated cannabis oil can be thick and gooey, or clear, depending on how much it is refined. The oil is turned into vape concentrates or a variety of other products.

For edibles, labs usually produce a clear form of concentrated oil. Aromatic compounds called terpenes are removed, so the consumer doesn’t taste the weed when biting into chocolate.

Third-party testing

Before the product is packaged and shipped, each batch of products — whether it’s flower, caramels or concentrate for a vape cartridge — is tested by a third-party lab.

Typically, labs measure levels of cannabinoids such as THC and CBD, and test for active pesticide ingredients. If a sample fails the pesticide chemical residue test, the entire batch is destroyed.

All the marijuana sold in Illinois must also be grown in the state. Here's a look at how it is done.

Personal Use of Cannabis in Illinois

Legalization change Illinois weed laws in 2020 – you may want to know how much you can possess or grow – we explain home grow and legalization matters in IL. How many plants can you grow in Illinois?

Want to Try Delta-8 THC?

What do the new Illinois weed laws say about the personal use of cannabis in Illinois?

A new law legalizing the use of recreational marijuana is was passed in Illinois on May 31, 2019. The state beaome the 11th in the country to allow the use of recreational marijuana, but the first state to legalize cannabis by legislative process.

According to this new cannabis law, “the General Assembly finds and declares that the use of cannabis should be legal for persons 21 years of age or older.”

Illinois Weed Laws

Below we discuss the new Illinois Weed Laws that are now in effective from January 1, 2020, and onwards. Remember that cannbis laws evolve fast, so always check back in for the most current cannabis laws in Illinois.

Want to Try Delta-8 THC?

Illinois Has No Marijuana Laws

Illinois replaced the term “marijuana” with its biological name, Cannabis, many years ago. Even during prohibition, Illinois referred to marijuana as cannabis. That continues today with the new Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act.

Who is allowed to Sell Cannabis?

In the beginning, only licensed dispensaries will be allowed to sell medical marijuana when the bill becomes law in January 2020. More licenses will be granted to other stores by the middle of the year.

Already, there are a good number of dispensaries in different parts of the state. By the start of 2020, it is predicted that close to 300 stores will be selling marijuana.

However, it will still be up to the municipal and county government to decide whether marijuana sellers can operate in their areas of jurisdiction.

Where can you Smoke Cannabis?

According to the new law, cannabis smoking will be allowed at home and within the marijuana sellers’ premises. However, smoking will be prohibited in the following areas:

  • Public areas, such as streets and parks
  • In motor vehicles whether personal or otherwise
  • Near police offices, or close to school bus drivers who are still on duty
  • Within a school setting. However, exemptions are made for the case of medical marijuana
  • Close to anyone who is under the age of 21

While smoking marijuana at the confines of your home is allowed, property owners have a right to prohibit the same within their premises. Colleges and universities will also be allowed to prohibit weed smoking within the institutions.

Amount of Weed One Can Possess

According to the law, residents of Illinois will be allowed to possess 30 grams of cannabis flower, 5 grams of cannabis concentrate, and 500 milligrams of cannabis infused products. Cannabis infused products include tinctures and edibles.


A sales tax will be applied for all marijuana products. For instance, products whose THC is less than 35% will have a sales tax of 10%. Edibles and any cannabis infused products will be taxed at 20%. Products with a THC concentration of over 35% will have a sales tax of approximately 25%.

Aside from the sales tax, a 7% gross tax will be imposed on marijuana sold by growers to dispensaries. It is highly likely that, at the end of the day, this cost will be passed to the consumer.

Where Will the Cannabis for Sale Come From?

Currently, there are 20 marijuana cultivation facilities in Illinois. At the beginning of January 2020, these will be the only facilities that will be allowed to grow marijuana. Within the year, craft growers interested in growing marijuana will be allowed to submit their license applications. Licenses will be given to facilities that can grow up to 5000 square feet of weed.

How many plants can you grow in Illinois?

  • Marijuana cultivation will be legal for those who take marijuana for medical purposes.
  • These patients will be permitted to grow 5 marijuana plants at any given time.
  • On the other hand, recreational marijuana users will not be allowed to plant marijuana in their homes.
  • Doing so will attract a civil penalty fine of $200.
Who is Allowed to Grow Cannabis in Illinois
If you are registered under the compassionate use of medical cannabis program, and are within the age limit set by the law, you are legible to grow marijuana. You also need to be a resident of this state to be allowed to grow weed at home. According to this law, a resident is “A person who is domiciled in the state for 30 days.”

If you grow marijuana, you have to tend for the plants. You can have an agent do this for you for a short duration when you are away. That said, the plants should not be accessed or used by other unauthorized people.

Home Growing Cannabis in Illinois?

According to the law, marijuana plants will have to be grown in an enclosed and locked-up place. This will ensure that the plants cannot be accessed by unauthorized persons. It will be illegal to grow the plants in a place where the public can easily access.

Additionally, anyone who is registered to grow the cannabis plant is prohibited from giving the plant or any cannabis-infused product to neighbors, friends, or any other person for that matter. Doing this will not only attract a penalty, but will also lead to revocation of the home growing right.

Where to Get Cannabis Seeds?
Cannabis Use and Possession by People Under Age 21

According to the new law, possession of cannabis by anyone below the age of 21 will be a criminal offense. Punishment for such offenses will depend on the circumstances at hand, and may include:

  • Revocation of driving license if the person is driving a vehicle at the time they committed the offense
  • Fine of not less than $500 if a parent or guardian allows anyone below the age limit to use marijuana
  • Jail term if there are other crimes that have been committed while under the influence of marijuana

While you will be required to produce identification documents to verify your age when buying marijuana products, your personal information will be protected for privacy purposes. The sellers will not be required to record your personal information. If they do, they will need to first get your consent.

Once this bill becomes law, those who want to take marijuana for recreational or medical purposes will have an easier time getting the marijuana products they need. They will also get value for their money because all business transactions will be done in accordance with the law.

However, those who are below the age of 21 must keep off from using or possessing marijuana, and any of its associated products because this can land them in trouble with law enforcement officers.

Legalization change Illinois weed laws in 2020 – you may want to know how much you can possess or grow – we explain homegrow and legalization matters in IL