Illinois judge lifts court order, paving way for 185 new cannabis retail licenses

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An Illinois judge has lifted a court order standing in the way of 185 new business licenses being issued for recreational cannabis stores.

The August 2021 court order, which kept the state from issuing new adult-use retail licenses, was lifted on Friday, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The order had been put in place in response to a lawsuit that challenged the lottery process for those licenses.

It also represented an obstacle to some social equity retail applicants seeking to open their businesses.

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) said it is waiting for “further guidance in a related federal case” objecting to the state’s residency requirements for cannabis licensing and “anticipates releasing detailed information on next steps for applicants as soon as that guidance is issued.”

“Today is a key development towards our ultimate goal of creating the most diverse, inclusive, and robust adult-use cannabis industry of any state in the country,” IDFPR Secretary Mario Treto Jr. said in a statement.

The IDFPR plans to hold three “corrective lotteries” in June to “ensure fairness for all applicants and correct any errors in the lottery process,” the department noted in a Friday news release.

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Attorney Ryan Holz told the Tribune that some businesses that were excluded from previous licenses lotteries could seek a new court order further delaying the licensing process.

Adult-use marijuana sales in Illinois totaled almost $131 million in March, according to IDFPR figures.