Illinois changes rules for social equity adult-use marijuana license applicants

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Illinois regulators implemented several modifications for social equity applicants vying for one of the state’s 55 new adult-use retail licenses this month.

Among the big changes, license seekers will face a much simpler application, related fees will drop from $2,500 to $250 and all winners will be selected via lottery, Crain’s Chicago Business reported.

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation said it will begin accepting applications Jan. 30 after distributing them across the state’s 17 dedicated regions.

Other application modifications include:

  • Eliminating residency requirements and bonus points for military veterans.
  • Removing an allowance for applicants to gain social equity status by hiring at least 10 employees who lived in disproportionate areas of marijuana arrests or were arrested or convicted of low-level MJ offenses.
  • Applicants can only apply for licenses in one region and file only one application.

Illinois regulators in November issued the state’s first two social equity adult-use marijuana retail licenses nearly three years after launching recreational sales as lawsuits and other setbacks stalled the program’s rollout.

The state’s first round of adult-use business approvals included 192 licenses.