A working group of Illinois legislators and administration officials have been hammering out a legislative plan to create new dispensary licenses and a rules clean up for a lame duck session planned later this week, say multiple legislators. The plan discussed would create 75 new dispensary licenses for applicants that did not make it into the lottery round announced last September.
“We’re looking at possibly releasing another set of licenses earlier that will be eligible to the people that applied with the first round,” said working group member House Democratic Conference Chair Kathleen Willis. “I think we’ll have language that will be agreed upon that will go forward in lame duck session.”
House and Senate leaders have announced plans to meet for a two-day lame duck session in Springfield beginning Friday, January 8.
The cannabis working group, which last met just before Christmas and may meet again this week to finalize plans before creating a draft bill, includes about a dozen House and Senate members, Cannabis Czar Toi Hutchinson, and representatives from the Illinois Departments of Agriculture and Financial and Professional Regulation, which administers cultivation and dispensaries respectively.
The group has only briefly addressed stalled craft grow, infuser, and transportation licenses, say legislators, which have been stuck in limbo, as those licenses await resolution of dispensaries’ tangle of lawsuits. The working group has not made any plans for new craft grow or other licenses, but may discuss it during a meeting this week.
The new dispensary license distribution would create a new application round solely for applicants who did not make it to the lottery round announced in September. The new round would require no fee, would eliminate the veterans bonus points and would not require a perfect score to enter the lottery.
“That veterans preference is going to be gone. That’s going be the goal of the second 75, to have a cut score,” said State Rep. La Shawn Ford, also a working group member. “We don’t know what that score is yet, but there will not be the perfect score scenario which set up this confusion.”
Gov. J.B. Prizker’s team has assured working group members, Rep. Ford said, that supplementary discrepancy notices for the first round of dispensary licenses will be going out shortly after the new year.