CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — Illinois will delay awarding licenses for 75 new recreational marijuana dispensaries due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Pritzker is expected to sign an executive order that suspends the requirement for the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to issue up to 75 Conditional Adult Use Cannabis Dispensing Organization Licenses by May 1, 2020.
Applications for the licenses were due Jan. 1 and were set to be awarded May 1.
The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, which regulates dispensaries, said Wednesday the it will not award the licenses until Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s disaster proclamations end, or until IDFPR otherwise announces a new date.
The Governor is expected to sign a new order this week extending the disaster proclamation through May 30.
According to the Tribune, licenses offer the first path into Illinois’ burgeoning marijuana industry for people who didn’t already operate a cannabis facility. Though recreational sales started in the state Jan. 1, only existing operators were allowed to participate. The delay means those existing operators will continue to control Illinois’ marijuana market, which has delivered some of the highest first months of revenue in the nation.
It is unclear how long the new dispensaries will be delayed in opening. Once the state awards a license, the recipient has 180 days to find a location for the dispensary. The state must then inspect the location.
More than 700 applicants applied for the 75 licenses, according to the Tribune. Many of those seeking the dispensary licenses are social equity applicants. To qualify as a social equity applicant, a person must either have a marijuana-related arrest on their record, live