626 qualify for Illinois cannabis retail licenses on rescored applications

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Candidates for a lottery to receive cannabis retail store licenses in Illinois jumped to 626 after the state rescored applications.

Only 21 applicants qualified for the lottery last year, but 97% now qualify for the social equity bonus, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The first of three scheduled lotteries will award 55 licenses out of a pool of 937 total candidates who submitted more than 4,500 applications. That lottery is set for July 29.

The eligible applicants qualified by scoring at least 85% of the maximum 250 points, instead of needing a perfect score, which was required last year.

Under the law that legalized recreational marijuana in Illinois, social equity applicants received a 20% bonus on their score.

An Aug. 5 drawing, also for 55 licenses, is set for social equity applicants who live in an area impacted by the war on drugs or have past arrests for marijuana-related offenses as well as scored 85% on the state’s scale.

Then, on Aug. 19, comes the originally planned lottery for 75 licenses that were expected to be issued in 2020.