An Illinois judge last week lifted an injunction that barred the state from issuing licenses for recreational pot retailers after a delay that claimed the better part of a year. The ruling from Cook County Circuit Judge Michael Mullen potentially clears the way for state regulators to issue 185 licenses for adult-use cannabis dispensaries, although further legal action could put the process on hold again.
Mullen ordered the stay on issuing new licenses for recreational dispensaries last year after lawsuits against the process were filed by applicants who alleged that they were unfairly excluded from lotteries to award the permits. State cannabis regulators have since authorized a new lottery process to give the plaintiffs another chance to win a license.
Mullen lifted the stay on Friday, clearing the way for the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) to award the 185 conditional adult-use cannabis dispensary licenses held up by the order to applicants selected in three lotteries that were held in 2021. In a statement released by the agency after the ruling, the IDFPR said that it would release detailed information on the next steps applicants must take after receiving guidance in a related case in federal court.