Cook County Circuit Court Judge Moshe Jacobius addresses his court on August 16, 2021. Credit: Zoom / Cook County Circuit Court

Judge Moshe Jacobius, Chief Judge of the County’s Chancery Court Division, in a Wednesday morning status hearing, set the next steps in the WAH Group vs. Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) case.

“This case was so different from the others that we felt it was appropriate to bifurcate it and put all the other cases together under the Administrative Review Act. This one significantly challenges one of the lotteries in regard to the number of spaces or positions that were allotted to WAH. So, I think that’s the issue, right?” Jacobius asked.

The WAH Group case has a broad impact on Illinois’ cannabis industry since it includes a July 28 order from Judge Jacobius restricting Illinois regulators from transferring 180 licenses to lottery winners.

“I believe WAH also has a claim for administrative review,” Sunil Bhave, one of the attorneys representing IDFPR responded. “We can work with Ms. Harris to send in a briefing schedule if the court is amenable to that.”

Mazie Harris, attorney for Wah Group LLC and Bhave agreed with the next steps in the case.

“After we get your briefing schedules, we’ll review everything,” Jocobuis said. “Sometimes we wait until we see the briefs and then we’ll set it down for a hearing and ruling,” he added.

The case proceedings lasted only a few minutes after getting underway a little after 10:00 a.m. Wednesday morning, with very little said.

Separated from the other Illinois license cases against the IDFPR that are now consolidated into one “super case” the WAH Group case will continue in Jacobius’ courtroom while Judge Cecilia Gamrath has a December 16 hearing scheduled for the consolidated case she’ll be overseeing.

The WAH Group v. IDFPR case has been ongoing since September 2020.

The case originally started with two applicants, WAH Group LLC and Haayyy LLC, who claimed the applicant scoring process was unfair because it included bonus points for teams that were veteran-led, points that became critical because so many teams obtained perfect scores. The Tied Applicant Lottery is for teams that tied with perfect application scores, according to a previous Grown In news story.

WAH Group no longer makes that claim, because it was awarded a license in the August 19 dispensary license lottery. Now, WAH Group’s complaint focuses on the procedural process of the July 29 Qualifying Applicant lottery.

Haayyy LLC, initially part of the WAH case, is now among the fourteen consolidated and pending lawsuits in Illinois’ Cook County Circuit Court that are calling for a complete redo of the state’s cannabis license lotteries.

The order, from Jacobius, clears a procedural bottle-neck created when the Illinois Supreme Court ordered consolidation of the lawsuits filed.

[Read Judge Jacobius’ consolidation order]

Illinois Administrative Law cases, which are requests for judicial review of regulatory decisions, do not allow discovery and must be tried entirely on facts presented as part of the regulatory process. As a result, the 14 suits consolidated in Judge Gamrath’s courtroom are expected to have a relatively speedy resolution.

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Deborah Bayliss

Award-winning journalist with a career that started on Chicago’s South Side providing general news coverage. In addition to Illinois, coverage regions include Georgia and Louisiana where I provided city...