Technical Assistance


Technical Assistance

DCEO has procured assistance from community-based organizations and education institutions to develop and implement technical assistance programs including virtual events, videos and workshops to assist social equity applicants in their quest to procure and retain a cannabis business license in Illinois.

This technical assistance is critical for ensuring equitable representation of small and diverse businesses and entrepreneurs in the emerging cannabis industry.

The Department in turn has partnered with the following organizations to provide technical assistance to social equity applicants:



The NORML Foundation sponsors public advertising campaigns to better educate the public about marijuana and alternatives to current marijuana policy.  The organization also provides legal assistance and support to victims of current laws and conducts relevant research.

Chicago NORML created a series of online videos which focused on the following five topics:

Please click on the corresponding bullet to view each video in the series.



The Social Equity Cannabis Initiative, designed by the UIC Law Community Enterprise & Solidarity Economy Clinic (the “CESEC”) in partnership with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, reduces the legal barriers of entry into the emerging Illinois cannabis market for communities harmed by the war on drugs.

As background, the CESEC is a legal clinic located within UIC John Marshall Law School. The clinic represents worker-owned cooperative businesses, non-profits, and small businesses that operate for the benefit of an underserved community. Their clients promote equity, practice democratic decision-making, and build sustainability in their neighborhoods.

Under the Social Equity Cannabis Initiative, the CESEC provides the following services to help Social Equity Applicants understand the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (the “CRTA”) and other cannabis-related laws: (1) legal representation; (2) brief advising; and (3) legal technical assistance workshops.

For an overview of the Social Equity Cannabis Initiative and its resources, use the following link:

To apply for legal representation, use the following link:

To request brief advising, use the following link:

To register for an upcoming workshop, use the following link:



The Trep School has been tasked to provide training and technical assistance to Illinois cannabis industry social equity applicants (SEAs) and licensees.

Trep’s areas of assistance cover general business startup, employment practices, and cannabis industry specific concerns.   The Trep School is currently providing webinars on a range of topics that are beneficial to potential IDFPR adult use dispensing organizations and IDOA (craft growers, infusers, & transporters) licensees and social equity applicants interested in applying for the next round of license applications.

To view and register for upcoming training webinars: This is the actual direct link to our events:

To register for a phone or video-conference one-on-one sessions, email or call 217-497-9227.  Please note, the one-on-one sessions are limited to social equity applicants only.  The Trep School will request proof of social equity applicant status before the one-on-one session.



Oakton Community College is currently offering for-credit courses with the opportunity for social equity applicants to earn certificates in cannabis industry specialties.  Their post-license training plan is geared toward building upon their current cannabis education program by preparing social equity applicants for the next round of dispensary license applications, creating business plans and operational agreements; in addition to conducting one-on-on consulting.

This spring Oakton Community College is offering four-weeks of cannabis dispensary license preparation workshops. Spring offerings will include two, two-week sessions. All sessions are offered virtually. Closed captioning of all overview sessions is provided and for other sessions as needed.
This spring (March/April/May) sessions include:

  • Cannabis dispensary application overview sessions. These sessions use the 2019 IL dispensary application. Facilitators walk through each exhibit and discuss what is expected and identify best practices. We do provide the caveat that the next round of dispensary licenses may have a different application.
  • Small Group Workshops. The topics for these sessions are based on session participant evaluations and questions raised at overview and consultation sessions. Past topics included: Writing Business Plans, Cannabis Dispensary Laws, and Operating Agreements.
  • 1-1 Consultations. Social equity applicants have access to cannabis industry partners. Consultants use the one-hour consultation time to answer questions raised by prospective applicants as it pertains to their application.

To register for upcoming Webinars and one-on-one consultations:



WBDC post-license training plan includes offering a 8-week CannaBiz Essential series where social equity applicants (SEAs) will learn about starting a cannabis or cannabis related business in Illinois, in addition to offering webinars dedicated to banking in the cannabis industry, recognizing transferrable skills for the cannabis industry, and recruiting top tier talent; in addition to conducting one-on-on consulting.

Training will consist of 4 stages:

  1. One-on-one Counseling sessions
  2. CannaBiz Essentials – March 2021
  3. Webinars – “10 Things to Know About Starting a Cannabis Business in Illinois” and Banking & Finance in the Cannabis Industry
  4. Self-Paced Learning Courses – Introduction to Cannabis, Illinois Responsible Vendor Training, & Cannabis Retail Basics

To register for upcoming Webinars:

To register for Cannabis one-on-one consulting being offered by the WBDC: