Illinois marijuana retail hopefuls drop suit after getting second chance

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A group of unsuccessful cannabis retail store license applicants in Illinois withdrew their legal challenge against the state after the governor announced an application do-over.

“This is what we were trying to achieve,” Jonathan Loevy, a Chicago lawyer representing the 70 marijuana dispensary applicants, told the Chicago Tribune.

The federal lawsuit claimed that the state’s lottery to award 75 retail licenses deployed a scoring system that discriminated against some of the minority applicants.

Only 21 applicants qualified as finalists for the 75 licenses, sparking several legal challenges and questions about a social equity program that had been considered a potential industry blueprint.

Some applicants were allowed to correct their applications, Crain’s Chicago Business reported, while others weren’t notified as they should have been of problems with their submissions.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has acknowledged the process has been “far from perfect,” according to the Tribune.

In an effort to increase the fairness of the process, Illinois regulators will notify unsuccessful applicants of issues with their submissions and allow them an opportunity to amend and refile their applications before the state’s final lottery.

Pritzker is indicating the lottery for awarding the licenses will come later this fall.

In the meantime, the fast-growing Illinois adult-use market remains controlled by existing medical marijuana operators who were given a head start. Sales hit a monthly record of nearly $64 million in August.