Illinois’ supplemental deficiency notices arrive; MSOs offer assistance

Above, the opening language of an Illinois supplemental deficiency notice.

Supplemental discrepancy notices for Illinois dispensary applications got to email boxes late yesterday, and just as the first notices arrived, a press release also went out from State Rep. LaShawn Ford (D-Chicago) that he was organizing application assistance in conjunction with a Chicago-based multi-state operator and a cannabis application consulting company.

“I’m lucky that we’re able to pull together all of these people,” said Ford. “They have experience.”

With a title “News from the Illinois House of Representatives”, ApplicationCoaching.com was launched in conjunction with Justice Grown, a multi-state operator owned by Chicago attorney Jon Loevy, and application consultant Harvest360. Rep. Ford said he was briefed by state officials on Wednesday that dispensary notices would come on Thursday. Ford also said he had received notice a “number of weeks ago” from state regulators that notices would be coming out around this time.

A state official confirmed that legislators were briefed on the supplemental notice timing, but would not say who else was notified in advance.

A number of applicants Grown In spoke to Friday morning were surprised to receive the notices, and in fact some did not receive their email notices until Thursday evening. 

“I’ve got ten days to put this together. It was short notice for a lot of work,” said Jolene Rivera, a social equity dispensary applicant who received her notice at 5:40 p.m.

Ford said he partnered with Justice Grown and Harvest 360 because no other organizations approached him to offer help.

Grown In reached out to other Chicago-based multi-state operators for comment.

“We were not made aware of this program or invited to participate but are thrilled to hear about any and all resources for social equity license applicants,” said Green Thumb Industries spokesperson Linda Marsicano, who said GTI is still offering legal and application assistance to applicants. Interested applicants should email Socialequity@gtigrows.com.

Cresco Labs is also offering legal and application assistance to applicants. They should reach out to Mykel.selph@crescolabs.com.

“Nothing like this ever hit our radar, either through our lobbyists, our social equity programming team, or me,” said PharmaCann Senior Vice President for Regulation and Public Affairs Jeremy Unruh. “What a great idea to help get applicants’ submission deficiencies ironed out in anticipation of a next round of licenses. Making sure the pool of potential awardees is as large as possible is a really good thing.“

David Serrano, Harvest360 co-founder, said that participants with ApplicationCoaching.com will get access to live online Q&A sessions Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, a study guide, and one-hour coaching sessions with “an application expert.”

“For the most part, the service is really for the teams that have the business acumen to do so and that are potential leaders in the space that can take our study guides and respond accordingly. If they can’t do that, they’ll need a lawyer or consulting group,” said Serrano.