Lawmaker looks to clear pot license logjam, then overhaul system

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Under a bill filed in the House late yesterday by Rep. LaShawn Ford, the state would hold two lotteries to issue the licenses. One would be reserved for the 75 licenses that were supposed to be issued last May, using existing tie-breaker rules to distribute licenses to applicants who received perfect scores. The other round, which would distribute the 110 licenses meant to be issued this year, would be held for applicants who received at least 85 percent of the maximum score.

The lotteries would be held simultaneously. Dispensary operators that existed prior to the state’s recreational weed law would be allowed to move existing retail stores to larger locations nearby — but only 90 days after new licenses are awarded in the lotteries.

Holding multiple lotteries would address the immediate problem of getting licenses issued, but not the process itself.

The application procedures were criticized for being cumbersome and full of unintended consequences. Among them was a little-noticed provision that awarded an extra 5 points to applicants that were majority owned by veterans, as well as language that allowed people to file multiple applications. Out of nearly 900 applications, 21 entrants achieved perfect scores, qualifying for a lottery to award 75 licenses.  

“After we finish this round, there will be a new application and process for scoring them. That will take a new bill to lay that out,” says Ford, a Democrat from the West Side who sponsored the bill. “Our goal is for new applications to be ready by early 2022 so new applicants can apply.  It doesn’t make sense to bring in new applicants until we take care of current applicants.”

via Crain’s Chicago Business

April 21, 2021 at 02:24PM

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