Rescoring of retail marijuana licenses in Illinois allowed to proceed

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An Illinois judge rejected a request to stop state regulators from rescoring retail marijuana license applications, moving a seemingly never-ending saga closer to resolution.

The ruling allows Illinois to go forward with a licensing do-over that Gov. J.B. Pritzker hopes will remedy complaints about the process to award 75 recreational retail licenses.

Sangamon County Judge Adam Giganti, in refusing to grant a temporary restraining order against the state, ruled that the plaintiffs hadn’t and were unlikely to prove they would be “irreparably harmed” by the license rescoring, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The legal challenge was filed in early October by three companies that had received perfect scores, thereby qualifying them for a lottery to select the 75 new licenses.

The licensing round, delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, has been chaotic, raising questions about the state’s social equity provisions, once proclaimed as a potential blueprint for the industry. Only 21 applicants qualified for the lottery.

Unsuccessful applicants argued that they were not given notice of problems with their applications that could have been corrected and that the scoring process was inconsistent.

Meanwhile, Illinois’ existing medical marijuana operators, who were giving priority status in the adult-use market, continue to reap the benefits of a sizzling recreational market.

Adult-use sales in October alone reached a record $75 million, and medical marijuana sales added another $33 million to the total.