Illinois dispensaries: An FAQ to new pot shops opening thanks to 2021 bill – Chicago Sun-Times

Here’s the latest on a new law that paves the way for nearly 200 new pot shops to open in Illinois:

What happened?

The General Assembly approved legislation last week aimed at resolving an impasse over how to diversify the state’s weed industry that currently has no pot shops run by owners of color.

How many new dispensaries are expected to open in Illinois?

Once Gov. J.B. Pritzker makes good on his promise to sign the bill into law, the state will unleash a flood of licenses giving operators the right to open 195 new weed stores.

Where will the new dispensaries be?

About 119 are expected to open in a region that covers Chicago and the suburbs.

Who can win the new pot shop licenses?

Most of them will go to so-called social equity applicants who applied in January 2020 for a batch of 75 pot shop permits. The awarding of those licenses has been delayed for more than a year after a controversy prompted a series of lawsuits and led to the new legislation.

What’s a social equity applicant?

The designation created to diversify the cannabis industry initially gave a leg-up to applicants who either live in an area that’s been adversely impacted by the drug war or have a cannabis-related criminal record or a family member who does. Groups initially were also able to qualify by hiring a workforce that mostly includes those individuals.

How will the next dispensary licenses be handed out?

There will be four lotteries to determine who gets the right to open the stores:

The 75 delayed licenses will be dished out to existing candidates that earn a perfect application score. Fifty-five new recreational dispensary licenses will be issued to existing applicants that scored slightly

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