CHICAGO — State regulators announced 75 new cannabis dispensaries will be permitted in the coming weeks following Tuesday’s approval of rules for a tiebreaking process for granting licenses to recreational marijuana retailers.
The licenses are set to be the first issued by Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to anyone other than the owners of the few dozen companies that were already authorized to operate medical marijuana dispensaries before lawmakers voted to legalize the retail sale of adult-use cannabis.
They are also due to be the first to be awarded following a scoring process including points for social equity applicants, as defined by last year’s Cannabis Legalization and Tax Act.
“We are pleased that these rules have been adopted, and we remain unwavering in our commitment to ensuring these licenses are issued in a fair and objective way that implements Illinois’ equity-centric law,” said Toi Hutchinson, Pritzker’s cannabis czar, in a statement. “Additional licenses will be made available in the coming years and these rules will help ensure a strong foundation is established for the licensing process in the future.”
The deadline for issuing the new licenses, originally set for May 1, was delayed by an executive order issued by Gov. J.B. Pritzker in response to the coronavirus pandemic. And because the emergency rules issued in December expired after six months, the Pritzker administration needed to file permanent versions of the rules, which were adopted Tuesday at a meeting of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules.
Under the new rules, eligible applicants for new licenses in the same region who have tied scores on their applications would be decided by a drawing of lots following a public notice process. After the state issued a conditional license, the licensee has 180 days to finalize