“It’s a way to keep the same applicant pool until we get as many people as possible and as quickly as possible, since the delay has been so long,” said Toi Hutchinson, senior cannabis adviser to Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
She did not say when the lotteries will be held, only that they will follow the final rescoring of applications, which is in its final stages.
Last year, the state received an outpouring of applications for recreational marijuana licenses, reporting that 937 companies submitted 4,518 applications, with 40,000 exhibits to be scored. The licenses were to be awarded more than one year ago, on May 1. New licenses for craft growers, infusers and transporters have also been delayed.
Michel Andre Taylor, majority owner of two companies that applied for retail and craft grower licenses, said that his group of investors spent roughly $200,000 in the effort but remain “seriously cut out.”
“Every action has only benefited the current big cannabis players … while social equity have been given no voice whatsoever.”
Black applicants raised one issue yet to be addressed in legislation. They say the state should let social equity businesses locate within 1,500 feet of existing weed stores, which is prohibited, saying previously licensed medical dispensaries took all the prime spots.