Illinois cannabis lobbyists urge for maximum equality in dispensary license process

Political rally goers in Illinois have urged “for a fairer process to get a cannabis dispensary license in Illinois,” based on local news reports.

The group, which congregated on Tuesday, March 29 at Chicago’s Thompson Center, were not shy about voicing their criticism against the cannabis dispensary license process in Illinois.

The meeting occurred after state Governor J.B. Pritzker confirmed in early March that a lottery would be taking place to award 50 new recreational cannabis licenses – an idea that the rally goers are not happy with.

Lobbyist group members don’t see the benefit of a dispensary license lottery in Illinois

A simplified approach to the recreational cannabis dispensary license process was announced by Gov. Pritzker last month with the aim of eliminating roadblocks for social equity applicants and minority groups that have been negatively impacted by the failed war on drugs.

Pritzker’s goal is to “expand opportunities targeted to the communities most impacted by the failed War on Drugs.”

The group responsible for organizing the rally, True Social Equity in Cannabis, quickly fought back against Pritzker’s idea. Group members said that they “don’t want a lottery to decide who can create a cannabis business in their neighborhood.”

“We are tired of waiting. No more caps, no more lotteries, no more games,” said group member Jose Lumbreras.

An overview of the Illinois cannabis lottery  

Upon confirming the lottery, Gov. Pritzker noted that the state’s Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) was intent on “filing rules to simplify the cannabis dispensary license application process, remove barriers for social equity applicants, and expand opportunities targeted to the communities most impacted by the failed War on Drugs.”

Pritzker’s new rules for cannabis dispensary licenses stipulate that applicants can apply online with basic information, including “the name of the organization, list of principal officers, contact information, and a $250 fee.”

Based on a recent statement released by Pritzker’s office, the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation wants to award 55 conditional licenses across the 17 BLS Regions, each of which is outlined in the state’s updated recreational cannabis law.

From day one, Illinois has been dedicated to leading the nation in an equity-centric approach to legalizing cannabis, and these proposed changes to the application process will make it much easier for social equity applicants to pursue licenses,” said Democrat Pritzker in an official statement.

“I appreciate all the feedback we have received from stakeholders since the start of the cannabis program, whose work informed this proposal and is continuing to make Illinois’ growing cannabis industry the most equitable in the nation.”