Illinois Announces Plans for 185 New Dispensary Licenses

Illinois Announces Plans for 185 New Dispensary Licenses
High Times

The state of Illinois on Friday announced plans to award 185 new dispensary licenses for its adult-use cannabis program, less than a month after a judge cleared the way for the process to begin anew. The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation said that the licenses will be awarded in “three waves” of lotteries this summer, and that the “pace of licensing will be determined by how quickly applicants’ compliance checks can be verified.” “Today marks the beginning of the next chapter of the most equitable adult-use cannabis program in the country,” Illinois Governor JB Pritzker said in a statement on Friday. “After signing the most equity-centered program in the country into law, expunging thousands of low-level cannabis convictions, and investing tens of millions of dollars in cannabis proceeds in communities failed by the war on drugs, we are about to more than double the number of adult use cannabis dispensaries in Illinois. This means countless more opportunities for communities that have suffered from historic disinvestment to join this growing industry and ensure its makeup reflects the diversity of our state.” The announcement on Friday was made possible by a ruling late last month from Cook County Circuit Judge Michael Mullen, who lifted a stay on new recreational cannabis dispensary licenses that had lasted nearly a year.  The courts had issued an injunction on new licenses while it considered from parties who said they were wrong excluded from previous lotteries. According to the Chicago Tribune, “Black and Latino applicants have complained they have been unfairly kept out of the legal cannabis business in Illinois, where just 21 licenses for full-size growers have been issued, almost entirely to white owners, several of whom have come to dominate the industry nationally.” In March, Pritzker’s administration announced “rules to simplify the cannabis…

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