NEWS BRIEF

Lawsuits pile up over Illinois social equity marijuana licensing

No surprise here: The do-over of social equity marijuana business licensing in Illinois is sparking litigation.

But these lawsuits point to specific alleged scoring errors, rather than challenging the entire process, so it looks unlikely at this point that the claims will derail additional licensing rounds later this month.

According to Law360, High Haven Dispensary claims in a lawsuit filed in a state court late last week that state regulators deprived it of the social equity points it deserved based on the background of two of its owners.

One owner lives in a designated disadvantaged area, according to the report, while the other was arrested in 2008 for possession of drug paraphernalia.

Together, the owners reach the 51% threshold for social equity ownership, according to the complaint.

But High Haven claims the scorers instead came to the “absurd result” of giving them zero points in the category without providing a reason for doing so.

The company, which wants to be included in a licensing round later this month, said in its complaint that it has invested nearly $500,000 in the process, Law360 reported.

Also last week, three other applicants sued the state in federal court, claiming they were wrongfully excluded from a recreational marijuana retail licensing round.

Meanwhile, after a yearlong delay, Illinois awarded 55 adult-use retail licenses in July, with another 130 to be awarded via two lotteries this month.

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