Finalists for Illinois Cannabis Dispensary Licenses File Lawsuit Over State’s Decision to Give Applicants Second Chance to Qualify for Lottery
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Finalists for Illinois Cannabis Dispensary Licenses File Lawsuit Over State’s Decision to Give Applicants Second Chance to Qualify for Lottery

The lawsuit asks the Illinois Supreme Court to award the licenses without the recent changes to the process.

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October 6, 2020

Three finalists included in a lottery to win Illinois’ cannabis dispensary licenses have filed a lawsuit over the state’s decision to give applicants a second chance to qualify for the lottery, according to the Chicago Tribune.

SB IL, Vertical Management and GRI Holdings IL, which all received perfect scores on their applications, are asking the Illinois Supreme Court to award the licenses without the recent changes to the process, which were announced late last month.

Illinois regulators announced Sept. 3 that 21 social equity applicants would be included in a lottery to win the 75 available dispensary licenses.

Soon after, a group of companies behind some of the unsuccessful bids filed a federal lawsuit, alleging political motivation behind the number of businesses included in the lottery.

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) then announced plans Sept. 15 to “review questions” raised about its licensing process before setting a date for the license lottery, which was initially expected to take place in September.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker then offered the dispensary applicants a second chance to qualify for the licensing lottery by allowing those who did not receive perfect scores on their initial applications to amend the applications or ask the state to re-score them if they believe a mistake was made in the initial scoring process.

Pritzker’s office said the IDFPR would review all updated applications and issue final scores before moving forward with the licensing lottery.

John Fitzgerald, an attorney with Tabet DiVito & Rothstein, which filed the lawsuit, told the Chicago Tribune that the changes in the licensing process contradict the law that legalized adult-use cannabis in Illinois by creating a supplemental deficiency notice and a chance to ask for re-scoring on the applications—neither of which are included as provisions in the law.

Fitzgerald said that applicants who believe their applications were incorrectly scored should file a lawsuit and ask the courts to correct the issue, or lawmakers should change the law going forward, rather than the governor changing the law after the fact, the Chicago Tribune reported.