SPRINGFIELD – More than a year after new marijuana dispensary licenses were scheduled to be distributed per the state’s 2019 adult-use legalization law, the governor’s office announced the initial lottery and two new ones will happen by the end of August.
The state also announced the award of more than 200 other licenses for craft growing and infusing operations as well as distribution, and the governor signed into law the measure that will allow for the two new lotteries.
“In addition to signing that legislation, we’re actually issuing 200 craft grower (and other) licenses across the state and about 67 percent of those are going to people of color,” Pritzker said at a Thursday morning Chicago news conference on criminal justice reform. “And so there will be people getting into business in the cannabis industry, nearly right away, and I’m very pleased about that.”
The newly signed bill, House Bill 1443, was an effort to jumpstart the equity measures in the 2019 law that aimed to diversify the largely white, male-dominated legal marijuana industry.
Per the initial law, 75 dispensary licenses were to have been distributed over one year ago, but of the 900-plus applicants for those licenses, only 21 achieved the perfect score necessary to be entered into the final lottery. That caused the governor’s office to pause the final lottery amid backlash from equity advocates.
That lottery will now be held Aug. 19 with all 21 finalists eligible to win licenses.
While the initial lottery allowed only applicants that were tied for the highest score to reach the lottery, the new lotteries will instead apply to those who received 85 percent or more on their 250-point application.
The first new lottery for 55 licenses includes any firm that scored at least an 85 percent on its initial