185 total licenses issued to 100 percent social equity applicants in historic expansion of Illinois’ cannabis program
On Friday, Aug. 19, 2022, Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) issued three additional Conditional Adult Use Dispensing Organization Licenses to applicants selected in lotteries held in the summer of 2021.
These awardees join the 182 conditional licenses issued by the Administration in July and early August, meaning that all 185 available licenses from the original round of licenses have now been issued. This historic milestone is the result of Illinois cannabis policy that puts equity at the forefront, prioritizing communities that were specifically targeted by the War on Drugs.
All businesses selected qualify as Social Equity Applicants under the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, and the list of Friday’s awardees along with next steps for the conditional license period are available on the IDFPR’s Adult Use Cannabis webpage.
“Illinois is a pioneer, leading the way in cannabis legalization that is equity-centered,” said Pritzker. “With all 185 conditional licenses now in the hands of social equity applicants, we have reached a tremendous milestone. Now, we look forward to getting these businesses up and running, creating jobs in the communities most harmed by the failed drug war, and cementing ownership in Illinois’ cannabis industry as the most diverse in the nation.”
Of the businesses selected through the lottery, 41 percent are majority Black-owned, 7 percent are majority White-owned, and 4 percent are majority Latino-owned, while 38 percent of awardees did not disclose the race of their owners. To date, Illinois has made and executed the greatest commitment of adult-use cannabis tax revenue to community reinvestment, expunged the most criminal history records involving cannabis, and has the highest rate of minority ownership of any state reporting/collecting ownership demographic data in the country.
All businesses awarded Conditional Licenses will have 180 days to select a physical storefront location and obtain the full Adult Use Dispensing Organization License (the full list of criteria to be met may be found here). If a Conditional Licensee is unable to find a suitable physical location within the 180-day period, they may request an extension of 180 days. Once issued an Adult Use Dispensing Organization License, a business may begin purchasing and dispensing adult-use cannabis.
“I am pleased the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation fulfilled its statutory requirement and issued these 185 conditional dispensary licenses,” said Mario Treto, Jr., Secretary of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. “The release of these remaining licenses means ownership of cannabis dispensaries in Illinois is now more inclusive and diverse than ever before, and we look forward to taking the next steps together to continue implementing the most equitable cannabis program in the country.”
Through a separate program administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), the State of Illinois offers low-interest loans to qualified licensed companies through its Social Equity Cannabis Loan Program. The first round of social equity license applicants are expected to finalize loan agreements directly with DCEO’s partner lending institutions in the coming weeks. The next phase of the loan program will be launched in the near future. Additional information about the Social Equity Cannabis Loan Program can be found here.
DCEO also funds free licensing and post-licensing technical assistance through their partners at Oakton Community College, The Trep School, the Women’s Business Development Center, and the University of Illinois Chicago Law School. Additional information on these resources and how to access them can be found here.
The full list of licensees is available on the Department’s website. The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act also authorizes the Department to issue additional licenses in 2022 and future years – applications for those licensing rounds are not yet available.