Global Cannabis Giants Lobbied in Illinois as State Legalized Adult-Use Cannabis


As Illinois moved to become the eleventh state to legalize adult-use cannabis, both local and global cannabis giants registered to lobby state officials. 

Some of the names are expected, like Chicago-based cannabis companies Cresco Labs and PharmaCann, both of which hold medical cannabis licenses and were among the first companies to be awarded adult-use cannabis licenses in the state. Sales of adult use cannabis will go live in January 2020.

Cresco Labs hired four different lobbying firms—Alexander, Borovicka & O’Shea Government Solutions, L & M Consulting LLC, Leinenweber Baroni & Daffada Consulting LLC, and NJ Kimme & Company (the firm is no longer lobbying for Cresco)—over the course of the year to lobby the state’s department of agriculture. The issues it lobbied on, however, are not explicitly stated in the disclosures. (Cresco CEO Charlie Bachtell served on Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker’s transition team that helped craft the governor’s approach to adult use cannabis, and you can read Cannabis Wire’s Q&A with Bachtell here.)

PharmaCann, which is in the process of being acquired by MedMen Enterprises, registered to lobby the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, and the Department of Public Health on “marijuana/cannabis: medical; licensure; production.”

But there were a couple of surprising names, too, eyeing the state: Canadian cannabis company TerrAscend Corp and GW Pharmaceuticals’ U.S. subsidiary, Greenwich Biosciences—a cannabinoid research company—have also been lobbying in the state since early this year. Neither is a licensed entity in the state at this time.

Similar to PharmaCann, TerrAscend also lobbied the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation on “marijuana/cannabis: medical; licensure; production.” Greenwich, meanwhile, lobbied the state’s Attorney General, General Assembly Members, Governor’s Office, Healthcare and Family Services, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and the Department of Central Management Services on healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and public safety. 

And, as Cannabis Wire reported in August, Canopy Growth has been lobbying in the state since spring on a range of cannabis-related issues. While Canopy does not hold any cannabis licenses in the US, only hemp ones, the company is in the process of acquiring multistate cannabis operator Acreage Holdings, which is operating in Illinois.

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