The Illinois Department of Agriculture has sent a round of notices to cannabis industry applicants – including social-equity license hopefuls – detailing specific problems that they can remedy in their applications, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. The notices are the latest step toward regulators awarding the next round of licenses, including those long-awaited by social-equity applicants.
However, some applicants were issued disqualification notices because the state claims they were sent deficiency notices last year and didn’t respond to them either in time or accurately. Last September, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation indicated that just 21 of the more than 900 dispensary applicants received a perfect score and made the cut for the lottery.
Debbie Allen, founder of the Illinois Minority Cannabis Council who received a disqualification notice but said she never received a deficiency notice last year, described the regulators’ claim as “ridiculous.”
None of the state’s cannabusinesses are majority-owned by a person of color.
If this is allowed to continue to go forward like it is, it will never be right for minorities or women. Period. We will not get a seat at any table to participate in this industry.” – Allen to the Sun-Times
The state’s licensing processes were put on hold amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Illinois Craft Cannabis Association sued the state in order to resume licensing, but a judge declined to force the state to move forward citing the seriousness of the pandemic.
The applicants that did not receive perfect scores on the application have the opportunity to fix their applications and challenge the score as state officials faced criticism – and lawsuits – that many of the businesses that qualified for the lottery were well-funded, corporate, companies and multi-state operators.
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