CBx Daily Digest

After Uproar, Applicants Get 2nd Chance To Qualify For Illinois Retail Cannabis License

Business owners hoping to open recreational marijuana shops in Illinois will get a second chance at qualifying for a license, after Gov. J.B. Pritzker Monday announced a procedure to let applicants correct their applications or get rescored.

Business owners hoping to open recreational marijuana shops in Illinois will get a second chance at qualifying for a license, after Gov. J.B. Pritzker Monday announced a procedure to let applicants correct their applications or get rescored.

The move comes after applicants and lawmakers raised an uproar over the process, saying that it was shutting out the very minorities it was supposed to benefit.

Under the new procedure, any applicant who didn’t get a perfect score of 252 will receive a notice of deficiencies in their application, and a score sheet identifying the parts of the application where they lost points.

Applicants may then amend their applications, or ask the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to rescore their original application if they believe there was an error in scoring.

Many applicants complained that they received different scores on identical parts of their applications in different regions, or that they never were given notice of any deficiencies in their applications, as required by the law that legalized marijuana in Illinois, effective this year.

The marijuana legislation was designed to give preference to people from poor areas harmed by the war on drugs, or those who’d had previous low-level marijuana convictions.

Of more than 700 applications, only 21 finalists this month received perfect scores on their applications to qualify for a lottery to win 75 licenses statewide. The cannabis industry in Illinois is dominated by wealthy white males, and many of the finalists included politically connected or wealthy white business owners.

“…(W)hen we heard significant concerns from numerous stakeholders about the process to award dispensary licenses, I said we needed to take a pause to fix their concerns, within the bounds of our landmark law,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in a news release. “While this process remains a marathon and not a sprint, we believe that these new steps will inject more equity and fairness in the first round of license awards and provide insight as we improve the process for future rounds.”

Read: Full Story at Chicago Tribune

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