Husna Miskandar / Unsplash

Simulation of people winning the Illinois dispensary lottery. Credit: Husna Miskandar / Unsplash

Today, Illinois cannabis regulators are scheduled to conduct their second dispensary license lottery. The first lottery, conducted last week, selected winners for 55 dispensary licenses. Here’s details on what to expect.

  1. What’s the lottery for?

A new law signed into effect last month by Gov. J.B. Pritzker directs the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to award 55 adult-use licenses through a lottery today. The applicant pool for today’s Social Equity Justice Involved Lottery is taken from applications submitted January 2020, and of applicants who obtained social equity status either by living in Illinois-designated Disproportionately Impacted Areas by the War on Drugs, or who were a close family member of or personally arrested for a marijuana-related offense in Illinois. The lottery is also limited to applicants who have at least 213 of 250 points (85%) awarded as part of the application scoring. Here’s a list provided by Illinois regulators of all the eligible applicants.

  1. When do lottery winners get licenses?

We’re not totally sure. Last week a Cook County Circuit Court Judge issued an emergency order that allowed lotteries to go forward, but restricted the state from actually awarding licenses to selected applicants. That judge is expected to hold a hearing next Monday, August 9 on the lotteries as part of an on-going case where a group of applicants claim the state’s license scoring system was unjust. So, maybe Monday afternoon? Maybe not at all.

  1. What are they awarding?

Regulators are awarding 55 Conditional Adult-Use dispensary licenses distributed according to the state’s 17 Bureau of Labor Statistics regions (map here). Adult-use dispensary licenses are not allowed to sell to medical patients, which is about 27% of total cannabis sales in Illinois.

  1. When is the lottery, and how will I know who won?

State regulators aren’t saying much about the exact time of the lottery, which is being conducted by the Illinois Lottery (the lotto ball guys) and is not televised or allowing any outside observers. But last week’s dispensary lottery results were released by 3:00 p.m. Central Time and included a list of the company names that won, but no individuals’ names or contact information.

  1. How many licenses can someone win?

Applicants eligible for today’s lottery cannot keep more than two Conditional Adult-Use dispensary licenses. If you win more than two licenses today, you must announce which licenses you’ll give up by noon, August 12. Participants in the Tied Applicant Lottery can keep up to 10. 

  1. When are the other lotteries? 

Last Thursday the state selected applicants for 55 licenses in the Qualifying Applicant Lottery. On August 19, Illinois regulators are scheduled to conduct the Tied Applicant Lottery, for the twenty-one applicants to the January 2020 dispensary application process who scored perfect scores, for a drawing for 75 dispensary adult-use licenses.


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...