With recent litigation indicating potential further delays for the distribution of additional adult-use dispensary licenses in Illinois, perhaps it makes sense to review how the Land of Lincoln found itself in this position.
On June 25, 2019, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (the “Act”) into law, adding Illinois to the states that have legalized adult-use cannabis. Among other initiatives, the legislation sought to bring equity to Illinois communities that have been hit hardest by the war on drugs, in part by providing additional “social equity” bonus points on license applications submitted by certain eligible entities, as described in further detail below. As initially drafted, the Act required the Illinois legislature to issue 75 new adult-use dispensary licenses by May 1, 2020.
Over 4,500 applications were submitted by more than 900 different groups for this initial batch of 75 licenses, and only the 75 highest scoring applicants were to be eligible to receive a license. Although the Act initially did not contemplate ties, it was later amended to clarify that in the event of a tie, licenses would be awarded via a lottery.
As mentioned above, to further the Act’s intent to