Illinois Suspends Deadline to Issue Cannabis Licenses

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This week, Illinois announced that the state is temporarily suspending the deadline it had planned on for giving out adult-use cannabis grower licenses and cannabis transported licenses.

According to an official executive order from Gov. JB Pritzker, by the powers vested in me as the Governor of the State of Illinois, pursuant to Sections 7(1) and 7(12) of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Act, 20 ILCS 3305, I hereby order … the following provisions of the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, 410 ILCS 705, and the implementing regulations, are hereby suspended.”

The order goes on to explain the stipulations of everything that is being suspended and how the suspensions will work. There is no date announced yet, but once one is figured out, the Illinois Department of Agriculture will announce a new date. At that time, up to 40 infuser licenses will be given out, as well as an undefined amount for transporters in the state. 

Additional Concerns

The application deadline is being extended due to the ongoing, worldwide fight against COVID-19 pandemic, something that is not unique to Illinois. While the state is eager to get its cannabis program rolled out in a timely way, they also want to be sure they do so in a fair and equitable manner, and both those interested in obtaining licenses and the government have been impacted by the virus and may be in need of more time.  

However, some are concerned that, though the delays may be reasonable, they still make things harder for people who are trying to be considered for a new license.

“My biggest worry is that any delay … makes it very hard for the people, who are the entire intent of this, to weather,” Toi Hutchinson, the former senator who oversees the state cannabis program, said, according to Book Club Chicago.

“The Pritzker Administration is committed to creating a fair and equitable adult-use cannabis industry in Illinois. IDOA is helping achieve that goal by providing Illinois residents, specifically those who live in communities that were disproportionately impacted by the failed war on drugs, with multiple entry-points to this new industry,” said Jerry Costello II, Acting IDOA Director. “The COVID-19 pandemic and the 6-week deadline extension granted to applicants have caused unforeseeable delays in the application review process. The Department is working tirelessly to ensure that applications are scored and awarded in a fair, deliberate and equitable manner.”

“All 75 licenses will not necessarily all be awarded at the same time, added a spokesperson for the Pritzker administration in an official statement. Some licenses could be awarded to applications that didn’t tie with any other application.” 

It’s not clear yet when this will be taken back, up, and what problems the delay will cause, but it’s clear that things will be on hold for now.

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