Illinois judge tosses out request to freeze out applicants; state’s muddled dispensary license process forges on

The Sangamon County Courthouse (Flickr/Jimmy Emerson)

After an attempt in Illinois Supreme Court, and a brief halt by a Sangamon County Circuit Court judge, three Illinois cannabis dispensary license applicants were stymied in their attempt to halt rescoring other license applications and head right to the license lottery round. Judge Adam Giganti denied the applicant’s request for a temporary restraining order [download order here] after he found “the public interest..weighs against Plaintiff’s requested relief.”

The order handed down was a resounding boost to state regulator authority over the application process. In his decision, Giganti disputed arguments that the state has no power to fix errors in application scoring, writing, “the General Assembly expressly charged the Department with the responsibility ‘to ensure consistency and fairness in the application of this Act.’”

Had Judge Giganti supported the request for a temporary restraining order, the state would have been forced to halt the rescoring process ordered by Gov. J.B. Pritzker and dispensary licenses would have been distributed through a lottery process to the 21 applicants who received perfect scores, leaving hundreds of other applicants out of luck.

Judge Giganti’s decision also declined to order the restraining order because another case, Wah Group v. IDFPR, is underway in Cook County for similar concerns.

Now that Judge Giganti has set the threat of a restraining order aside, state regulators can continue with their rescoring of dispensary applications and other lawsuits questioning the scoring process, like the Wah Group case, can move forward.