Plaintiff attorneys Mazie Harris and Robert Walker address the Cook County Circuit Court during a hearing for WAH v. IDFPR on September 1, 2021. Credit: Zoom / Cook County Circuit Court
Part [part not set] of 12 in the series Illinois’ Dispensary Licenses in Court

Part 11 of 12 in the series Illinois’ Dispensary Licenses in Court

For now, Illinois’ 185 new adult-use cannabis dispensary licenses will remain frozen in amber: assigned to license winners, but not transferred to the winners so they can use them. Today, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Moshe Jacobius made no change to his July 28 emergency order, barring Illinois regulators from issuing licenses to winners of the July 29, August 5, and August 19 licence lotteries. An attorney for the State of Illinois also announced that a final list of lottery winners will be issued on Friday, September 3.

The court was surprised when attorney Mazie Harris, who is also a part owner of her client, WAH Group LLC, stated that WAH Group LLC wanted to stay on the case, despite the fact that WAH won two licenses in the August 19 lottery. Harris and WAH were expected to withdraw from the case, since their complaint, that the application scoring process unjustly required veterans points, was made moot by the fact that WAH Group LLC, which is veteran-led, was forced to be rescored and added to the August 19 lottery, resulting in WAH winning two licenses. Harris is also a part owner of WAH Group LLC.

Harris and the other plaintiff’s attorney, Robert Walker, representing Haaayy LLC, asked for permission to each submit new, amended complaints that focus on different counts. A motion to file those complaints is scheduled for September 23. It is anticipated that Haaayyy LLC will focus on problems with veterans points in the scoring process, while WAH Group LLC will focus on newly identified problems with the lottery process.

Friday’s final announcement of lottery winners is also a critical event, as it kicks off a 35-day filing period for license applicants to petition for administrative review, a kind of quasi-court that acts as a first stop for complaints before they can request judicial review. If the experience of next door Missouri is any guide, following it’s awarding of medical cannabis licenses in late 2019, over 800 parties filed for administrative review. Two years later, over 500 cannabis license cases are still pending in Missouri’s Administrative Hearing Commission.

Grown In originally, incorrectly reported that this hearing would be held on August 30 after a miscommunication with court clerks. Earlier this week the Cook County Court Clerk of Courts announced their database had been hacked, making it impossible to look up case statuses and generally confusing all work in the Cook County Court.

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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...