Illinois dispensary license lottery fix goes to House floor

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LAS VEGAS, NV – JULY 01: A customer pays for cannabis products at Essence Vegas Cannabis Dispensary after the start of recreational marijuana sales began on July 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Nevada joins seven other states allowing recreational marijuana use and becomes the first of four states that voted to legalize recreational sales in November’s election to allow dispensaries to sell cannabis for recreational use to anyone over 21. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — Dispensaries in Illinois are bringing in millions of dollars every month.
But the state still hasn’t given out anymore licenses thanks to a botched scoring system for applicants. Now a lawmaker is trying to fix it by giving out even more licenses.

“We are almost 400 days delayed in the first 75 being released. So we’re due to not only release to 75. That’s past due, but it’s time now for us to have release more,” Ford said.

Democratic representative LaShawn Ford’s bill would change the dispensary license lottery.
It would give out an additional 110 licenses on top of the original 75 that were supposed to be given in the first round. Fifty of those licenses would be reserved specifically for social equity applicants.

That is meant to be a work around for a scoring issue that made it near-impossible for social equity applicants to catch veterans who applied.

“They could meet all the criteria’s and have a high score. And let’s say you had two applicants both have the same score before the veteran points are added. Once the veteran points were added, it puts the person with the veteran at an advantage,” Ford said.

The applicants who have waited a year to find out if they will be allowed in the market are hoping that these changes could lead to an answer.

“I’m just ready for the process to get on, get on and get over it one way or another. If we don’t make it this round, there’s gonna be other rounds,” William Bishop, a dispensary applicant from Springfield, said.

Applicants like Bishop are still waiting for Ford’s bill to pass in the capitol. The plan passed out of committee this past week with bipartisan support. It is expected to come up on the floor early next week.

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