Illinois officials on Sunday issued 149 conditional adult-use dispensary licenses to social-equity applicants – the first time the state has issued an entire round of licenses to the cohort. Of the businesses selected through the lottery, 41% are majority Black-owned, 7% are majority White-owned, and 4% are majority Latino-owned, while 38% of awardees did not disclose the race of their owners.
In a statement, Gov. JB Pritzker (D) said the licenses “represent a significant step toward accountability for the decades of injustice preceding cannabis legalization.”
“Illinois is leading the way in addressing the War on Drugs as no state has before, and dispensary ownership that reflects our state’s diversity is a product of that commitment. … Illinois will continue to deliver on the promises of putting equity at the forefront of this process.” — Pritzker, in a press release
The selected businesses now have 180 days to select a physical storefront location and obtain the full Adult Use Dispensing Organization License.
Mario Treto, Jr., secretary of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, said the licenses “continue to lay the groundwork for a cannabis industry more diverse and equitable than any other in the country.”
“The release of these licenses means a transformation of the retail side of Illinois’ cannabis industry,” he said, “creating more opportunities for individuals from all backgrounds to reap the benefits of legalization as employees and ancillary service providers.”
Through a separate program administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), the state offers low-interest loans to qualified licensed companies through its Social Equity Cannabis Loan Program. Officials said the first round of social equity license applicants is expected to finalize loan agreements directly with DCEO’s partner lending institutions in the coming weeks.
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