Illinois is getting ready for a heck of a lottery. (Flickr/Whitney Donohue)

A month earlier than expected, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) announced final rules for the issuance of the next 75 cannabis dispensary licenses. The rules stipulate a tie breaking process for the over 4,000 applications submitted. Because the point system created to award the licenses is a full point system – applicants either receive all the points available for each evaluation category or none – the likelihood of ties between applicants for the state’s 17 geographic areas is extremely high.

The tie breaking rules released today are identical to emergency rules released last December. Illinois’ emergency administrative rules are only valid for six months, and must be submitted for a public review process, which typically takes 90 days. IDFPR submitted the permanent rules on June 8. 

Now that the tie breaking rules have been finalized, the state can begin announcing which dispensary license applications are eligible for tiebreaking – essentially a lottery – at any moment. 

However, in an early June hearing with the Cook County Cannabis Commission, Illinois Cannabis Czar Toi Hutchinson testified that the state would announce dispensary license winners in mid-July that won their geographic region outright as well as those with equal points in a tie breaker. Then, in September, tie breaker lotteries would be conducted. No announcements have been made up to this point.

“I’d be thrilled to learn now that the tie breaking lottery rules are in place that the social equity dispensary licenses will yet be awarded this month, however I still believe September is a more realistic expectation,” said Pamela Althoff, Executive Director of the Cannabis Business Association of Illinois.


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...