Illinois admits mistakes in marijuana store lottery process, will host another


On Friday, state officials announced that a fourth lottery for cannabis dispensary licenses will now be held to give six groups of applicants a chance to win additional permits after being wrongly excluded from draws for one. previous lottery.

The latest development in the convoluted and acrimonious pottery store clearance process came just before the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation announced the final list of winners for the next 185 permits, which still cannot not be officially issued due to an order from a Cook County judge. .

Toi Hutchinson, Governor JB Pritzker’s senior advisor on cannabis control, explained on a call with reporters that an “administrative oversight” has led some groups to have less chances than they deserve and to lose out. others to have more hits in the July 29 lottery. The errors affected the designs of five of the 17 regions where licenses are designated.

The new lottery aims to give affected businesses the same chances of winning that they would have had in the initial draws, although it was not immediately clear how those chances will be determined. Additional licenses will be issued to winners, but officials did not say how many could be distributed.

In a written announcement detailing the process, the IDFPR said other “corrective lotteries” would be used to resolve similar issues with the other two that have already taken place. But for now, Pritzker spokeswoman Charity Greene said the only additional lottery planned is for the July 29 draws. Since the state’s plan is due to go to court, Greene said language was included in case other issues arise and additional lotteries need to be held.

The IDFPR also acknowledged that several groups of applicants “alleged that their applications should have been eligible for one or more of the three lotteries and were wrongly excluded.” The ministry expects, however, that these issues will be resolved during the administrative review process.

Hutchinson noted that the rules for the planned corrective lottery would be set out in a court order, but it is unclear which of the seven pending lawsuits related to the authorization process would be affected or where the order would be made.

At a hearing last month in the Cook County case that delayed the issuance of the 185 pending licenses, Deputy Attorney General Richard Huszagh admitted that candidates had been excluded from a lottery due to a “writing error”. Huszagh added that they would have to go through an additional process to determine whether they “would have won” what Judge Moshe Jacobius called a “mock lottery”.

During this hearing, Huzagh specifically admitted that one of the plaintiffs, WAH Group LLC, lost a stroke he deserved in the first lottery. While Greene did not immediately provide a list of new lottery entrants for “confidentiality reasons,” she said they would be made public before the draws were held.

Hutchinson sought to make the lottery announcement – the latest issue in a controversial and delayed licensing rollout – an example of officials being “as fair as possible” throughout the process. Despite the myriad of problems, she said the state was using its efforts to diversify the white lily industry, citing the designated winners of the next batch of lucrative cannabis licenses.

“When we look at the numbers we’re getting right now and the reality of how many black and brown licensing opportunities have been offered through this process, no other state comes close to what Illinois has done,” Hutchinson said. “The technical issues were absolute, and it was painful to see how long it took.”

Now, as Hutchinson and other officials attempt to finalize the problematic deployment, the IDFPR noted in its announcement that the state plans to issue 50 more dispensary licenses next year as part of a new process to demand.

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