Tristan Gassert / Unsplash

Lottery winners shouldn’t pour the champagne just yet. There’s a court case still hanging over everything. Credit: Tristan Gassert / Unsplash

In Illinois, today’s Tied Applicant Lottery, held under the cloud of multiple lawsuits, is to select winners of 75 adult-use cannabis dispensary licenses. But those licenses will not be awarded – if at all – until at least August 30, when a Cook County Circuit Court Judge in the Wah vs. IDFPR case may make a decision on the substance of the license scoring process. The first two lotteries selected winners for 110 licenses.

[Read more about the Wah case.]

Here are more details on what to expect today.

  1. Who is in this lottery?

Today’s lottery is limited to teams that obtained a perfect score of 252 points for applications submitted in January 2020. The group was originally just 21 teams announced last September, but because of the Wah case and others, the lottery pool has now swelled to many more teams whose scores improved through a series of deficiency processes where applicants were notified by the state of problems with their application and were given an opportunity to correct the problems.

  1. When do winners get the licenses?

Nobody is quite sure. Judge Moshe Jacobius, who sits on the Wah v. IDFPR case, issued an emergency order last month allowing the state to move forward with three lotteries, but he barred the state from actually transferring the licenses to the winners. Judge Jacobius has been hearing a case that may change how applications are scored, and he may order the entire lottery system to be redone.

  1. What are they awarding?

The lottery is for 75 adult-use cannabis dispensary licenses, divided up between 17 Bureau of Labor Statistics regions in Illinois. Some regions have just one or two licenses assigned, the Chicago region has 47. These holders of the licenses can only sell cannabis products for adult-use, not for medical patients. But for what it’s worth, a secondary market for the licenses popped up a couple weeks ago, and the going rate seemed to be between $2 and $3 million. But because the Wah case has tossed everything up in the air, it’s hard to say if what people win today is worth anything at all.

  1. How is the Lottery conducted?

The lottery results are conducted by the Illinois Lottery with no outside, third party observation. The Lottery team, while they have released extensive information on their process, have not explained if they’re pulling balls from a machine or running a computer simulation. But, according to a fact sheet from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR), “The procedure is substantially similar to the process it uses for its daily lottery drawings. Additional information about the lotteries is available at [insert link to the one-pager].” That last bit is verbatim. There’s no link available.

  1. When will we know the results?

The July 28 results were out by 3:00 p.m. CT, but the August 5 results were out by Noon CT.

  1. How many licenses can someone win?

Unlike the July 28 Qualified Applicant Lottery and the August 5 Social Equity Justice Involved Lottery, which limited winners to two licenses, today’s lottery winners can take home up to 10 licenses each. But, licenses won in previous lotteries count towards today’s 10 license limit, and additional licenses won must be “abandoned” within five business days.

  1. So…what next?

Well, it looks like today we’ll get some people who might end up with a license, but then there will be at least one court case, maybe two, or more that will decide if the lotteries should be redone. Don’t ask us to predict the future, because we wouldn’t have predicted any of this.


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...