PEKIN, Ill. (WMBD) — Illinois’ first social equity cannabis infuser company is opening its doors and it’s happening in Central Illinois.
Tuesday afternoon, Krown LLC in Pekin became the first operational cannabis infuser company, under Illinois’ 2019 Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act.
“This industry was poised to kick off the third week of March of 2020, so obviously there’s been a few challenges since then, both on the legal front, there was a global pandemic,” said David Lakeman, division manager for cannabis and hemp at Illinois Department of Agriculture.
The business will manufacture Wyld brand adult-use gummy edibles. It will also launch its own brand under the name Enliven, selling affordable and high-quality products.
“We’re going to offer a lot of different types of cookies, some sweet tart-type candies, and mints,” said Allison Dries, owner of Krown LLC.
Dries said her company has created 17 new jobs, with hopes to double that number by this time next year.
As a social equity company, Krown LLC focuses on hiring individuals disproportionately impacted by the past war on drugs.
“Maybe it’s a minor conviction for cannabis, an arrest, or family members that have been arrested,” Dries said.
The business will also provide a tax revenue boost locally, with a portion of those funds staying in Pekin, helping areas like infrastructure.
“The last thing you want to do is raise a fee, raise a tax, raise a levy, so this gives us an opportunity to find that balance,” said Mayor Mark Luft, City of Pekin.
After a slow start getting the cannabis industry going in Illinois, leaders said this is a sign of momentum.
“There’s more work to be done, but this a good first step,” Lakeman said.
In total, 54 infuser licenses have been issued in Illinois and the Department of Agriculture hopes to open a dozen by the end of the year.
During the fiscal year 2022, Illinois generated nearly $450 million in adult-use cannabis taxes, and sales exceeded $1.5 billion.