Illinois Judge Lifts Court Order, Allows Craft Grow Cannabis Licensees to Proceed With Business Plans
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Illinois Judge Lifts Court Order, Allows Craft Grow Cannabis Licensees to Proceed With Business Plans

Winnebago County Circuit Judge Stephen Balogh ruled that the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed earlier this month to challenge the licensing process must file the suit under administrative review law.

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June 16, 2022

After Illinois’ craft grow cannabis licensees’ operations were placed on another hold in the wake of litigation brought by unsuccessful applicants, a judge has lifted a temporary restraining order and allowed the licensees to proceed with their business plans.

Winnebago County Circuit Court Judge Stephen Balogh issued the order June 6 to block all craft grower licensees from operating until a settlement was reached in a new lawsuit, which was filed June 3 by Sustainable Innovations Inc. and 11 other unsuccessful craft grow license applicants.

The lawsuit challenged the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s (IDOA) licensing process, which the plaintiffs alleged violated the state law that authorized the craft grow licenses in the first place.

The IDOA issued the first round of craft grow licenses last year, and state law required the department to award the second round of licenses by Dec. 21, 2021.

Unsuccessful applicants then filed litigation to challenge the licensing process, and subsequent court orders mandated that the additional licenses could not be awarded until the lawsuits were resolved.

RELATED: No End in Sight? Illinois Craft Grow Applicants Wait in Limbo as Litigation Drags On

A judge lifted the injunction in March, allowing the IDOA to move forward with issuing the second round of licenses, which were awarded June 1.

The licenses were then put on hold again last week in the wake of the new lawsuit and Balogh’s temporary restraining order.

Balogh ultimately ruled June 15 that the plaintiffs in the latest lawsuit must file the suit under administrative review law, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The ruling now allows the 88 craft grow licensees to get their operations up and running, the news outlet reported.

Lawyers from the Illinois Attorney General’s office argued that the delay in licensing would have unfairly harmed the applicants, according to the Chicago Tribune, while attorneys for the plaintiffs have announced plans to file an amended complaint.