Illinois to pick overdue marijuana dispensary winners by Aug. 19

Medical Marijuana

By JERRY NOWICKI
Capitol News Illinois

SPRINGFIELD – More than a year after new marijuana dispensary licenses were scheduled to be distributed per the state’s 2019 adult-use legalization law, the governor’s office announced the initial lottery and two new ones will happen by the end of August.   

The state also announced the award of more than 200 other licenses for craft growing and infusing operations as well as distribution, and the governor signed into law the measure that will allow for the two new lotteries.

“In addition to signing that legislation, we’re actually issuing 200 craft grower (and other) licenses across the state, and about 67 percent of those are going to people of color,” Pritzker said at a Thursday morning Chicago news conference on criminal justice reform. “And so there will be people getting into business in the cannabis industry, nearly right away, and I’m very pleased about that.”

The newly signed bill, House Bill 1443, was an effort to jump start the equity measures in the 2019 law that aimed to diversify the largely white, male-dominated legal marijuana industry.

Per the initial law, 75 dispensary licenses were to have been distributed over one year ago. Of the 900-plus applicants for those licenses, only 21 achieved the perfect score necessary to be entered into the final lottery. That caused the governor’s office to pause the final lottery amid backlash from equity advocates.

That lottery will now be held Aug. 19. All 21 finalists are eligible to win licenses. 

The initial lottery allowed only applicants that were tied for the highest score to reach the lottery. The new lotteries will instead apply to those who received 85 percent or more on their 250-point application.

The first new lottery for 55 licenses includes any firm that scored at least an 85 percent on its initial application that has not hit a 10-license limit. That lottery will be held July 29.

The second new batch of 55 licenses would be available to firms that scored 85 percent or higher that also have at least 51 percent ownership meeting social equity requirements, including living in an area impacted by the war on drugs for at least 10 years, having been arrested or convicted of a marijuana crime eligible for expungement, or being a member of a family impacted by the war on drugs.

That lottery is scheduled for Aug. 5.

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