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IDFPR announces timeline for next cannabis dispensary license lottery

Following extensive conversations with lawmakers and other stakeholders, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) has announced the timeline for the next round of cannabis dispensary licenses. Applications for the lottery will be accepted starting in January. Those interested in applying should review the rules, a mock application, a proposed timeline, and other relevant documents available now on the Department’s Adult Use Cannabis program webpage. This follows the release of 192 conditional dispensary licenses earlier this year, all to social equity applicants.

“Illinois is committed to having the most accessible and equitable cannabis industry in the nation, and we look forward to issuing additional social equity licenses and cementing our status as a national leader,” said Gov. JB Pritzker. “My administration will continue working to ensure the industry reflects the diversity of our great state, and I wish to thank all stakeholders for their hard work on this process to ensure that happens.”

IDFPR will begin accepting applications for 55 additional conditional cannabis dispensary licenses on Monday, Jan. 30, 2023. The 55 licenses will be distributed across the 17 Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Regions. All applications will be submitted online through the Department’s website.

Applicants must register as a business and provide certain basic information, such as the name of their organization, list of principal officers, contact information, and a $250 fee. During the license lottery process, principal officers cannot be included on more than one lottery entry and applicants cannot have more than one lottery entry across all 17 regions.

While the rules for the lottery process do provide flexibility on timing, IDFPR currently anticipates accepting applications for two weeks, through Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023. IDFPR will then publish a list of lottery participants by Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023. After a period for applicants to contest the list of lottery participants, IDFPR may publish an updated list based on any necessary corrections and contestations. As soon as possible after the final participant list is published, IDFPR will conduct a lottery with the Illinois Lottery and publish the certified results after the lottery has concluded.

Each applicant drawn for an opportunity for a conditional license will have 45 calendar days to prove certain social equity eligibility criteria, including proving it is 51 percent or more owned or controlled by one or more individuals who each meet the combination of a certain set of criteria. That criteria may be found here, along with a helpful guide of acceptable documents.

IDFPR will have 60 calendar days after the lottery to ensure the 55 applicants selected in the lottery meet the criteria detailed above. Applicants selected in the lottery will be provided an opportunity to provide supplemental information to satisfy these criteria. If an applicant selected in the lottery does not provide the supplemental information, the conditional license will be offered to the next applicant drawn in that BLS Region. The applicant must then meet the social equity eligibility criteria.

“This improved process provides increased accessibility and opportunity to individuals who, either directly or in the communities they call home, were harmed by the failed war on drugs,” said Mario Treto, Jr., Secretary of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. “We look forward to applying the lessons learned from our first round of conditional dispensary licenses to better the means of welcoming more entrepreneurs to the most equitable cannabis program in the country.”

All updates and additional information will be found on IDFPR’s Adult Use Cannabis Program webpage.

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