Illinois has awarded 48 long-awaited craft grow cannabis licenses that had been delayed due to litigation brought by unsuccessful applicants.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) announced June 1 that it issued the licenses, completing the licensing round that launched in December 2021.
The full list of licensees is available here.
Of the newly issued licenses, 20 (42%) went to Black-owned businesses, 17 (36%) went to white-owned operations and four (8%) went to Hispanic-owned companies, according to the IDOA’s press release. Eight percent of the licensees are owned by a partnership group, while 6% did not provide that information.
All of the licenses were awarded to entities that Illinois defines as Social Equity Applicants, according to the IDOA’s announcement.
“Illinois' cannabis industry started out with businesses with owners who all looked the same, but with each new set of licenses, we come closer and closer to realizing our vision for a truly diverse industry,” Gov. JB Pritzker said in a public statement. “I'm especially pleased that 100 percent of these craft grow licensees come from a social equity background, and I look forward to many more businesses opening their doors and creating even more good jobs.”
The IDOA awarded the first round of craft grow licenses in August 2021, and state law required the department to issue the additional licenses by Dec. 21, 2021.
In response to lawsuits filed by unsuccessful applicants, Sangamon County Judge Gail Noll and Cook County Judge Neil Cohen ordered that the licenses could not be awarded until the litigation was settled, ultimately stalling the licensing process while the lawsuits moved through the legal system.
A judge lifted the injunction in March, allowing Illinois officials to proceed with issuing the licenses.
“The department is thrilled to announce the issuance of these licenses,” IDOA Director Jerry Costello II said in a public statement. “These licensees now join those licensed by the department last year to form the foundation of the legal cannabis industry in Illinois, and together will generate thousands of well-paying jobs across the state as they come online. Our team has remained highly focused on its core mission of developing a well-regulated and equitable industry. With now a second cohort of 100% social equity licensees, we're proud to say that we have taken the first steps toward fulfilling the vision of the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act passed by the Legislature. The department looks forward to working with these licensees over the next weeks and months as the industry grows and matures.”
As of June 1, the IDOA has issued 342 total adult-use cannabis licenses to craft growers, infusers and transporters, according to the IDOA’s press release.