Pritzker signs law to ensure diversity in Illinois’ pot industry

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) — Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker signed legislation on Thursday to promote minority-owned marijuana dispensaries.

The bill creates two lotteries for dispensary operator applicants. That’s the first set of licenses to be awarded under the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (CRTA).

It authorizes a third lottery for 75 additional licenses which were supposed to be released in 2020.

“Over the past century, the failed war on drugs has destroyed families, filled prisons with nonviolent offenders, and disproportionately disrupted Black and brown communities. Legalizing adult-use cannabis brought about an important change and this latest piece of legislation helps move us even closer to our goal of establishing a cannabis industry in Illinois that doesn’t shy away from the pain caused by the war on drugs, but instead centers equity and community reinvestment as the key to moving forward,” said Governor JB Pritzker.

There will be three lotteries for adult-use dispensary license applicants this year. They will be held on:

July 29: the lottery for qualifying applicants who received who received a score of at least 85% of the 250 application points will be held for the 55 licenses in that category.
August 5: the lottery for social equity justice-involved applicants who received a score of at least 85% of the 250 application points and are located in a disproportionately impacted area or have an eligible conviction will be held for the 55 available licenses in that category.
August 19: the final lottery will be held for top scoring, tied applicants for the original 75 licenses outlined in the CRTA.

Under the CRTA, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) can issue 75 conditional adult-use cannabis dispensary licenses. The release says HB 1443 expands opportunities by creating two new lotteries:

One of the lotteries is reserved for primarily black and brown Illinois business owners, who are considered disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs, or with past criminal marijuana offenses.

A social equity justice-involved lottery for 55 additional licenses to be awarded to:
those who have received a score of at least 85% on their application, or 213 out of a total of 250 possible points;
live in a disproportionately impacted area, has an eligible cannabis conviction, or has a family member with an eligible cannabis conviction;

A lottery for an additional 55 licenses for applicants who had a score of at least 85% on their application. In total, 185 dispensary licenses will be determined through the lottery process.

In total, more than 200 people in Illinois will qualify for a license. The governor’s office says two-thirds of them are non-white.

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