By MATT STEWART Illinois is the only state in the country that allows people to grow and possess marijuana, and a growing number of companies have opened shop in the state.
But while pot shops and medical marijuana dispensaries have popped up in the suburbs and cities, a new breed of marijuana entrepreneurs have entered the state to take advantage of a new tax incentive and a burgeoning cannabis industry.
The state legislature has authorized $100 million in incentives to businesses, but the new incentive program, known as the Illinois Cannabis Tax Credit, is intended to help them start and expand operations.
The program is part of the state’s $1.2 billion marijuana legalization package that lawmakers approved in late December.
While some companies will receive a cash payment of $25,000, others will get a tax credit of up to $200,000 for each of their first five plants, said Robert J. Shull, president of Shull Enterprises Inc., a marijuana retail company in Aurora, Illinois.
Companies that start operating in Illinois have been able to deduct their first 10 plants from their taxes.
That’s one reason Illinois is considered a major expansion market for the industry.
Shull Enterprises has already received tax credits worth $10,000 and expects to receive another $10 million in credits over the next two years, according to his company’s financial filings.
That money will help pay for equipment and staff to grow the plants for the company.
Shihll also expects to be able to use the money to help cover payroll.
Companies with five or more plants can qualify for a tax incentive of up at least $25 million.
The first 50 plants produced by Shihls can qualify as a business, and the first 100 plants produced through the tax credit will be considered a plant, according an online tax calculator by Shull’s company.
The company also has a contract with a medical marijuana dispensary in the city of Urbana, Illinois, for the production of medical marijuana, according a company website.
The tax credit program is one of a number of programs that have helped entrepreneurs in Illinois launch businesses.
Illinois legalized medical marijuana in late 2016, and in 2017, Illinois Gov.
Pat Quinn signed a law allowing people to purchase cannabis in pharmacies and dispensaries for recreational use.
The law also allows for people who qualify to sell marijuana directly to consumers through retailers, which is allowed under state law.