During Wednesday’s State of the State and budget address, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said passing legislation to create additional pot shop licenses is among the state’s “key priorities.”
Pritzker made good on his campaign promise to fully legalize cannabis statewide, but the launch of Illinois’ recreational marijuana program has been dogged by an ongoing licensing imbroglio. All the state’s pending cannabis licenses have been delayed indefinitely following outcry and lawsuits from jilted social equity applicants, who were supposed to get a leg up in the application process in an effort to diversify the state’s white-dominated cannabis industry.
State senators approved legislation during last month’s lame duck session that aimed to resolve the issue by doubling the number of new dispensary licenses and creating a second lottery to determine the winners, but their counterparts in the House failed to call it for a vote. On Wednesday, Pritzker signaled that accomplishing that goal remains front of mind.
“The to-do list is long, but it includes key priorities like finally authorizing the overdue second cannabis licensing lottery, and passing an energy bill that protects our nuclear fleet and builds up our wind and solar industries, protects the environment, puts consumers first and supports jobs,”