A day after giving losing applicants a second chance to qualify for a lottery to determine the winners of the next round of pot shop licenses, Gov. J.B. Pritzker declined Tuesday to give a date when the permits would be issued, only saying it would happen “this fall.”
Under heavy fire from scorned hopefuls and lawmakers, Pritzker on Monday announced that candidates who didn’t receive perfect scores would be able to revise their applications and challenge the grades they received from the state. Only 21 of more than 900 applicants had advanced to the next round.
However, Pritzker wouldn’t provide a firm timeline for when the licenses will be issued during Tuesday’s news conference at the Thompson Center, saying only that his administration believes the process could be completed sometime in the fall. The 75 new dispensary licenses were initially going to be issued by May 1, but the process was delayed by the pandemic — along with the pending cannabis cultivation, transportation and infusion licenses.
“Working quickly is important, but getting it right is also important,” Pritzker said, adding that the new review process will ensure there are “as many people in that final lottery as deserve to be there.”
Pritzker also vowed to work with lawmakers to make changes to ensure that similar problems don’t emerge when future weed licenses are issued, like allowing applicants to move onto lottery rounds without earning a perfect score and capping the number of applications that each group can submit.
“My administration will continue to work with the General Assembly to see how and where we can improve the process to advance our common goals,” said Pritzker.
Pritzker’s mea culpa came after weeks of administration officials touting the diversity of the firms that were initially included in the lottery, who all received