Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker’s administration announced a temporary suspension of the May 1 deadline to issue up to 75 new cannabis dispensary licenses.
According to a press release, that requirement, codified in the state law that legalized recreational cannabis in Illinois, will be suspended by executive order through the end of the ongoing disaster proclamation in the state, or until the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation sets a new date.
The delay will primarily impact so-called “social equity” applicants, a key group that was specifically included in the recreational cannabis law.
According to an IDFPR spokesman, the state received applications for almost 4,000 licenses from 700 applicants ahead of the original May 1 deadline.
“More than 600 of the applicants identified themselves as qualifying for social equity applicant status,” the spokesman told NBC 5.
Toi Hutchinson, the governor’s senior advisor on cannabis control, said in a statement that the state remains committed to ensuring that a diverse group of individuals and companies will receive licenses, and takes “social equity” requirements seriously.
“The Pritzker administration remains committed to creating a legal cannabis industry that reflects the diversity of Illinois residents,” Hutchinson said. “We recognize that countless entrepreneurs were looking forward to May 1 and the next step it represented for Illinois’ adult use cannabis industry, but the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has caused delays in the application review process.”