Illinois adds new lottery for previously rejected adult-use cannabis retail applicants

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Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Illinois is preparing to carry out a brand new cannabis lottery for adult-use retail store applicants. Competing applicants complained that the state unjustly rejected their appeals to partake in the 11th legal U.S. recreational market, which went into effect on January 1, 2020.

Based on reports from state regulators, application denials occurred as a result of a data entry fault that transpired after the first of this summer’s three lotteries. The recently-held lotteries saw the awarding of 185 new cannabis business licenses.

Although the six hopeful applicants who have been entered into the new lottery are not guaranteed to receive a license, the odds of bagging an adult-use retail license this time round are much higher. In total, 500 licenses can be awarded, with state officials claiming that the process has now been tweaked so as to ensure that licenses are awarded fairly.

Numerous lawsuits have already been filed in regards to the Illinois cannabis lottery, with plaintiffs arguing that the scoring process was flawed. Prior to the new lottery, 185 adult-use retail licenses were distributed over the course of three lotteries.

Social cannabis smoking lounges in Illinois have gotten off to a successful start 

Since cannabis was legalized for recreational purposes in Illinois last year, the rollout of cannabis smoking lounges has been executed at a snail’s pace. Currently, just two social smoking lounges have opened and two more are set to open in the near future.

Aside from the bring-your-own (BYO) consumption facilities that have opened their doors in downstate Sesser and DeKalb, business owners are also working towards the launch of BYO cannabis smoking sites in Carbondale and West Peoria.

Presently, it is illegal to smoke cannabis in public spaces throughout Illinois, such as public buildings, parks, on the street and inside private properties, including apartments and hotels. 

Due to the aforementioned restrictions, Illinois’ cannabis smoking lounges offer consumers a safe and relaxed environment in which adults aged 21 and above can vape or smoke the plant. However, it should be noted that cannabis cannot legally be sold by the establishments.

Adult-use cannabis sales in Illinois surpassed $120 million in August

On Thursday, September 2, state officials released a report confirming that Illinois’ adult-use cannabis market had accrued revenue exceeding $120 million. These figures represent the highest sales records since a recreational market transpired across the state in 2020. Moreover, it is the sixth consecutive month that sales have tipped over the $100 million mark.

In August, adult-use cannabis sales revenue in Illinois amounted to $121,933,542; $81,275,830 of that amount came from in-state residents and $40,657,711 from out-of-state visitors. Comparatively, July’s sales revenue amounted to almost $128 million — an impressive figure that retailers have attributed to the intense hype associated with the Lollapalooza music festival.

Figures published by the state’s Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) confirm that the adult-use cannabis market in Illinois has progressed greatly since retailers opened their doors; revenue continues to soar in spite of the COVID-19 health pandemic.

J.B. Pritzker signed Illinois’ cannabis legislation into effect on June 25, 2019, making it the 11th U.S. state to legalize the plant for adult-use purposes. The Act’s passing led to cannabis legalization for adults aged 21 and older. No other state in U.S. history legalized cannabis use via legislation, as opposed to a public referendum.