Illinois suit aims to block opening of social equity marijuana licensee’s store

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The parent company of a marijuana retailer in Illinois filed a lawsuit alleging that another store is opening too close to one of its existing outlets in Chicago.

Under state law, marijuana retailers are not allowed to be located within 1,500 feet of each other – unless the two entities were licensed under Illinois’ social equity program.

The lawsuit, filed this week in Cook County by GRI Holdings, argues that while social equity licensees should be permitted to open stores close to locations owned by large multistate operators, regulations should not permit social equity businesses to locate so close to each other, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

The lawsuit claims the social equity exception “is a misinterpretation of the state law by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation,” according to the newspaper.

The Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, which licenses marijuana businesses in the state, is named in the lawsuit.

The suit alleges that a Consume Cannabis store planned for 605 N. Clark St. in Chicago violates Illinois statutes because it’s within 1,500 feet of GRI Holdings’ Green Rose Dispensary at 612 N. Wells St.

GRI Holdings plans to open “dozens” of stores in Illinois this year, according to the Sun-Times.

The company was part of a lawsuit in 2020 that aimed to block social equity applicants from getting a second chance to win a license.

The applicants had complained that the first opportunity wasn’t conducted fairly.