The new year will ring in with cannabis dispensaries opening their doors in Illinois as legalized recreational sales are set to officially begin on January 1.  Signed into law earlier this year, the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act will finally take effect at the start of 2020. 

Companies that have already been operating under the state’s previous medical cannabis law are preparing for the switch, with Cresco Labs (CSE: CL; OTCQX: CRLBF) just receiving licensing for adult sales. 

Cresco’s five existing medical dispensaries across the state have been granted Early Approval Adult-Use Dispensing Organization licenses by the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. That state agency oversees the new cannabis program in conjunction with the Department of Human Services. 

Aside from retail location approval, Cresco was also previously granted licenses for adult use cultivation sites in Lincoln, Joliet, and Kankakee. As of today, that makes Cresco the only statewide operator holding onto both types of licenses for recreational growing and sales.

Discussing that milestone and the company’s plans to capitalize on using existing medical infrastructure to serve recreational customers, Chief Executive Officer Charlie Bachtell commented: 

Cresco is well-positioned to capture a significant share of this revenue opportunity for shareholders. We have 25% wholesale share of the current medical market, a portfolio of recognized brands and three cultivation facilities that can represent 630,000 square feet at completion, in what is expected to be a supply-constrained market.

With current medical locations to switch to dual purpose sales and new recreational-only sites expected to open soon, Cresco will convert all current and upcoming locations to the new Sunnyside* store format announced back in July. 

That newer brand model features an open floor plan with brightly lit spaces focused on educating new customers and gaining trust in the local community.  

In addition to the company’s existing FloraMedexMedMar Lakeview, MedMar Rockford, PDI Medical, and Phoenix Botanical dispensaries, Cresco has been granted licenses for five extra recreational locations. 

Illinois was state number 11 to pass an adult recreational legalization law in the U.S. Other states such as Florida are widely expected to also see full adult legalization on the ballot during the upcoming 2020 election cycle.