Here be where dragons lie for cannabis licenses. Credit: The Richard J. Daley Courthouse

Illinois regulators submitted their plan to a Cook County Circuit Court judge last Thursday for corrective lotteries for 68 applicants pending in the dispensary supercase last week and the judge is deliberating on how much of the state’s application scoring record to reveal to attorneys and potentially the public.

Following a status hearing Thursday, June 2, attorneys for the state of Illinois released their plan for 51 corrective lotteries, which will be conducted for hundreds of applications, on June 21, 22, and 23. While lottery results will be announced at the end of each day, corrective lottery winners will still need to argue the merits of their case before Judge Cecilia Gamrath, who is overseeing the dispensary supercase.

[Read Judge Gamrath’s May 18 orderRead the state’s June 1 status report Read the corrective lottery plan.]

The status hearing, which involved nine different plaintiffs’ attorneys representing dozens of plaintiffs, was called to discuss what application and scoring materials state regulators should be required to release to the complainants. Already, the state released what it called Part 1, documents that broadly discussed the application process, most of which was already publicly available. In an order on May 18, Judge Gamrath ordered the state to release Part 2 by June 30, which includes applicant materials (not just applications, but any discussion of their application, including emails and scoring notes) for all plaintiffs who have won corrective lotteries and still in the supercase. 

Plaintiffs’ attorneys argued that releasing application materials to the public would release private financial information and trade secrets. Judge Gamrath agreed, and ordered that part 2 be filed under seal and limited to “attorneys’ eyes only”.

Also under discussion was how much should be included in Part 3, which could include any and all materials for all applicants. Certain plaintiffs urged that all materials be released, because they contend the entire scoring process was broken, and only by comparing applicant records will these plaintiffs be able to show scoring flaws.

During proceedings, Judge Gamrath seemed to agree that more information should be made available to the plaintiffs by the state and that until she has more information available to review, the case cannot move forward.

“I can’t emphasize enough to those on the call and the general public. It’s not because the court is sitting on her hands, it’s because I have nothing substantive to review. If you want to move forward, let’s do it. I really want to emphasize that I don’t have what I need to adjudicate a merits based claim,” she said.

After some back and forth between plaintiffs and the attorneys for the state, Judge Gamrath decided that she needed to further inspect the record to make a decision about what materials should be released. 

“If we go too liberal in ripping off the bandaid, we can’t put it back,” she said. “You can’t have it both ways to have free and unfettered access to non-plaintiff information and those who are not protected. That is a fairness question and a legal one.”


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...