Illinois pot dispensary licensees want OK to sell ownership shares – The Pantagraph

ROBERT MCCOPPIN Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — Caught in a Catch-22, recreational marijuana dispensary license holders are asking Illinois to change its policy and allow them to sell shares of ownership to raise funding to get their businesses started.

Some 200 recreational license owners have signed a Chicago NORML petition asking for permission to sell equity in their companies.

But under guidance by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, license holders are prohibited from selling their preliminary “conditional” licenses until they are approved to begin retail sales.

“Which is ludicrous, because in the conditional phase is when you need to raise the most capital,” said Edie Moore, co-founder of Chicago NORML and a conditional license holder. “There’s no reason not to do it. It’s not disallowed in the law, and it hurts people.”

The state law legalizing marijuana effective in 2020 was intended to promote greater minority participation in an industry which reported only one African American, four Hispanics, and 12 Asians with ownership interests as of 2021, compared with 209 white owners.

This summer, the state issued 182 conditional dispensary licenses, all to social equity applicants, generally defined as those with past minor cannabis convictions or from areas or high poverty or

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