Illinois releases guidance allowing layoffs as social equity applicants wait for license approval

The Illinois Department of Agriculture issued guidance this week allowing layoffs for cannabis craft grow, infuser, and transport license applicants who are seeking social equity status by hiring 10 more more employees from disproportionately impacted areas or have arrests or family members who have been arrested for cannabis-related offenses. 

“Applicants seeking to qualify as Social Equity Applicants under this criterion will not be required to maintain all employees that help satisfy this criterion throughout the duration of the application scoring period,” says the guidance sent by email to applicants.

Activists expressed concern with the state’s action, since it will likely result in layoffs. “I understand because it’s a lot harder to continue paying people when you have a hard time operating. But I think this just further illuminates the problem with that third category of social equity applicants, based on hiring,” said Akele Parnell, program counsel from the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights.

The two other ways Illinois cannabis applicants can obtain social equity status is through 51 percent ownership by individuals from disproportionately impacted areas, or 51 percent ownership by individuals or who have have arrests for cannabis-related offenses.

CBAI issues letter to Gov. Pritzker calling for funding to offset application delays

In a letter addressed to Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker on July 29, the Cannabis Business Association of Illinois called for the state to redirect cannabis revenues to assist social equity applicants’ carrying costs as they await the awarding of licenses. Illinois has delayed award of 75 dispensary licenses since the original April 30 award deadline and cannabis craft grow, infuser and transport licenses, which were supposed to be awarded June 30. Licenses are now expected to be issued sometime in early September.

“The record revenue generated by the law has created a unique opportunity to mitigate the impact of this delay. The CBAI recommends that the Administration direct some of these revenues toward reimbursing social equity applicants for costs associated with the delay.”

Download and read the entire letter here.


Editor Mike is a co-founder and the editor of Grown In, a U.S. national cannabis industry newsletter and training company. His career has taken him from Capitol Hill to Chicago City Hall, from...