New Illinois cannabis social equity trade association calls for changes to state cannabis law

SEEN president Natascha Neptune called Illinois cannabis regulators to make a series of changes to state cannabis law in a press conference held yesterday at the Jim Thompson Center. (Mike Fourcher)

A new trade association created to serve Illinois social equity applicants announced itself in a press conference yesterday with a call for state regulators to expand craft grow licensed canopy, force existing cultivators’ sales to independent dispensaries, and to direct state funds to assist with hiring “social equity applicant professional service providers.”

The new group, Social Equity Empowerment Network (S.E.E.N), comprised of over 300 social equity applicants in Illinois, has already formed a 501(c)6 trade organization, with plans to provide economic and business support for its members, both hopeful applicants and license winners, once they are awarded.

“We stand together in solidarity to shift the inequalities, inequities, and injustices that have taken place to create better standards, regulations and practices to create true social equity for applicants,” said Natascha Neptune, S.E.E.N.’s president. 

Specifically, the organization called for: 

  1. An increase to the maximum craft grow flower canopy space from 5,000 square feet to 50,000 square feet for craft grow license holders.
  2. Passage of HB5527, which requires 50 percent cultivator sales to be reserved for independent dispensaries. 
  3. Create a financial economic empowerment package by rerouting state cannabis tax revenue to social equity applicants, and to fund the hiring and growth of minority professional service providers in the cannabis industry.