Failing to get a state Supreme Court hearing, license group convinces lower court judge to freeze Illinois license process

Current picture of Illinois’ dispensary license landscape. (Unsplash)

A Sangamon County Circuit Court judge ordered Illinois regulators to stop rescoring cannabis dispensary applications last week, throwing yet another legal wrench into the state’s dispensary awarding process. The court order came after the Illinois Supreme Court denied a petition from three dispensary applicant groups to keep other cannabis dispensary applicants from advancing to the lottery round. The three applicant groups quickly refiled their case in Sangamon County Circuit Court where they found a more sympathetic ear with Judge Adam Giganti.

Judge Giganti’s order bars the state from issuing planned supplemental discrepancy notices or to order new scores until Thursday, November 5, when the court will hear arguments for the plaintiff’s emergency motion to force the state to halt all rescoring, and to conduct a planned lottery round for 21 license applicants named in early September.

“Gov. Pritzker and the state have a clear duty under the act to follow the process that was crafted by the Illinois General Assembly. They have no discretion under the law to change the process or violate the requirements imposed by the Illinois General Assembly,” plaintiff attorney John Fitzgerald of law firm Tabet DiVito & Rothstein told Grown In last month.

Illinois’s dispensary licenses aren’t the only ones that hang in the balance with the lawsuit. Illinois regulators have privately told Grown In and state lobbyists that until legal questions with dispensary scoring are resolved, it will be hard to issue craft grow, infuser, and transportation licenses, since all license applications were scored by KPMG, an accounting firm contracted to manage the scoring process.