Lawsuit that could have delayed Illinois cannabis business licensing dropped

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A Michigan-based marijuana company withdrew a lawsuit it filed less than two weeks ago against Illinois’ governor, removing a potential delay for 185 pending cannabis business permits.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Michigan-based Sozo Illinois dropped the federal lawsuit it filed July 16 claiming that social equity rules for the marijuana permits are “fundamentally unfair” and requesting that the licensing process be halted.

Sozo Illinois was formerly known as Sozo Health, according to the lawsuit.

Illinois authorities are scheduled to hold three lotteries starting July 29 to determine the winners of the 185 business licenses.

The move comes after social equity advocates pleaded with Sozo Illinois to drop the suit during a news conference Tuesday, calling the action “hurtful to social equity and racial equity” in the marijuana industry.

Several other license applicants characterized Sozo as an out-of-state carpetbagger owned by a white man who was attempting to game the social equity system by hiring employees with criminal marijuana records or who lived in areas of Illinois that were particularly affected by the war on drugs.

Sozo issued a statement supporting social equity, but the company remained critical of the law overseeing the licenses being issued.

In its statement, Sozo said the law has produced “a deeply flawed and unconstitutional process for distributing cannabis dispensary licenses in which rules of qualifying applicants were changed after applications were scored.”