An Illinois judge has lifted an injunction that has barred state officials from issuing 60 craft grow licenses in the state’s adult-use cannabis program.
On March 14, Sangamon County Judge Gail Noll restored the applications of 11 unsuccessful applicants who had sued the state to challenge its decision to disqualify them, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture awarded the first round of craft grow licenses last summer, and state law required the department to issue the 60 additional craft grow licenses by Dec. 21, 2021.
However, Noll and Cook County Judge Neil Cohen ordered that the licenses could not be awarded until the lawsuit was settled, which has since stalled the licensing process while the litigation moved through the legal system.
1837 Craft Grow LLC, an applicant for one of the craft grow licenses, asked the Illinois Supreme Court in January to let the state name the license winners, arguing that it and other applicants have faced mounting costs as they pay for property and other business expenses while waiting to hear if they will ultimately be awarded a license to operate.
The Illinois Supreme Court denied 1837 Craft Grow’s request, but now that Noll has lifted the injunction, the state is expected to reconsider the disqualified applications, rank all applicants, and ultimately determine who qualifies for a license, the Chicago Tribune reported.
If top applicants tie, state officials must hold a lottery to determine who will receive a license.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture told the Chicago Tribune that it is evaluating Noll’s ruling “to determine the best way to move forward as quickly and efficiently as possible while maintaining our commitment to a fair and equitable licensing process.”
Meanwhile, 185 adult-use cannabis dispensary licenses are held up by separate court orders due to litigation challenging that application scoring process.
The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) announced this week that it is working to simplify the cannabis retail licensing process with a set of new rules.
An application window for 50 additional adult-use dispensary licenses is expected to open during late summer or early fall, depending on when the regulations are finalized.