ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The Illinois Department of Agriculture held a ribbon cutting in Rockford Monday for “Star Buds,” the state’s first cannabis craft grow.

The event took place at its location on Forest View Road, just east of Alpine Road. Star Buds is the first of over 340 licenses given out in the last year to open its doors. Of the 2021 licensing cohort of which Star Buds is part, 67% of those licensees identified as non-white.

Star Buds is part of that percentage, as they are majority Black-owned. A member of the IDOA is happy to finally see a grower open, especially after COVID-19.

“So, to finally get though that for an equality company here to get up and running, to be the first in the state, it’s a big deal,” said David Lakeman, division manager for cannabis and hemp at IDOA. “There have been a lot of challenges in this industry. Illinois has been a leader and Star Buds is a leader, Rockford is a leader getting this industry up and going.”

The Department has issued 88 craft grow licenses, 54 infuser licenses and 189 transporter licenses since 2021.