The stay on 185 Illinois cannabis licenses, keeping license winners from opening stores, could be lifted as early as this Friday, according to a motion and discussion in Cook County Circuit Court this morning.
Long-time cannabis industry plaintiff WAH Group filed a motion this morning that would lift a July 2021 stay on awarding 185 adult use dispensary licenses. Lifting the stay would allow the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to transfer those 185 licenses to the lottery winners, who could then begin using them, free and clear of any legal restrictions. The action would more than double Illinois’ current 110 existing dispensary licenses, most of which are owned by multi state operators.
In a hearing this morning, Assistant Attorney General Sunil Bhave told Cook County Judge Michael Mullen that, “We might be agreeable to lift the stay,” and that he would discuss the motion with WAH Group attorney Mazie Harris this week. Hearing that, Judge Mullen directed Harris to prepare an order for his signature for a follow up hearing on Friday morning.
In their motion, WAH Group says it no longer sees a need for the stay since they no longer have standing to argue on the constitutionality of the lottery process, since the plaintiff’s application was rescored to have a perfect 252 points, and they subsequently were awarded a dispensary license in the supplemental lottery.
Dispensary license applicants have been waiting a long time for these licenses. Applications were first filed in January 2020, with awards originally supposed to be made in late April, but delays due to Covid, poor government planning, and then lawsuits kept adding delays to the process.
“The first thing I’m gonna do is have a drink and probably take a puff or two after thanking the good Lord that it’s finally over,” said dispensary license holder and activist Rickey Hendon when asked what he plans to do on Friday. “And then work on our location. My partners and I are looking at two places, and now that’ll accelerate.”