Illinois Judge Ends Order Blocking 185 New Adult-Use Cannabis Licenses

A Cook County Circuit judge removed the 10-month stay blocking 185 adult-use cannabis licenses from being issued in Illinois after a lawsuit challenged the license lottery’s legality.

Full story after the jump.

An Illinois judge has removed the stay blocking the issuance of 185 adult-use cannabis licenses, the Chicago Tribune reports. Barring further litigation, the ruling by Cook County Circuit Judge Michael Mullen will allow licensees, many of whom are Black and Latino, to begin opening and to proceed with activities like requesting zoning approval, purchasing real estate, ordering supplies, and hiring employees, all of which had been put on hold.

The 10-month delay came after plaintiffs filed the lawsuit, claiming they were unfairly excluded from the latest round of license lottery winners. One of the plaintiffs, WAH Group LLC, withdrew its case, prompting the judge to lift the order blocking the licenses.

“People are super excited to move forward,” said attorney Ryan Holz, who represents businesses granted licenses and some who were excluded. He cautions, however, that the group who filed the original stay could ask for a new court order, further delaying the process. The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (DFPR) indicated they will give guidance on the next steps once a federal case related to Illinois‘ in-state residency requirement is decided, the report says.

“Today is a key development toward our ultimate goal of creating the most diverse, inclusive, and robust adult-use cannabis industry of any state in the country,” DFPR Secretary Mario Treto Jr. told the Tribune. “We stand ready to swiftly move forward in ensuring Illinois’ standing as a national leader in the advancement of cannabis equity.”

The Tribune noted that the state is working on three new lotteries to help those who continue to say their license applications were wrongly denied.

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