Judge ends legal delay in awarding pot shop licenses

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Winners have six months to identify locations for their dispensaries but can seek a 180-day extension. Once their facilities are built out, they can seek final inspections from the state to open the stores and be formally awarded a license.

It’s estimated that a store can cost $750,000 to $1.5 million to build and stock with inventory. A successful dispensary can be sold for $3 million to $5 million.

The delay in awarding dispensary licenses has frustrated applicants. The first round of licenses was supposed to be issued two years ago as part of the law that legalized recreational marijuana, but the process dragged out with a cumbersome application process and litigation.

The delay also been a disappointment for Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who campaigned four years ago on legalizing marijuana use, which was one of his early legislative victories.

The Illinois law was hailed as a blueprint for other states in pursuing social equity by crafting rules to diversify a white, male-dominated industry. The aim was to award licenses to people from neighborhoods and families were impacted most by the war on drugs. The delays, however, have caused other states to look to learn from the speed bumps here.

The delays in issuing new licenses meant fewer stores, which has hampered the cannabis industry in Illinois. Sales exploded after recreational weed sales began in January 2020, but growth has slowed since.

Michigan, which legalized recreational cannabis at the same time as Illinois, reported 28% higher sales last month, despite having a smaller population.

via Crain’s Chicago Business

May 27, 2022 at 09:50AM

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