Illinois craft marijuana growers can get back to work after judge lifts order that put industry on hold

Craft cannabis growers in Illinois may resume preparing to open for business after a judge Wednesday ended his order that prevented the state from expediting new licenses.

Winnebago County Circuit Judge Stephen Balogh ruled that jilted license applicants challenging the licensing process must file lawsuits under administrative review law, which provides some protection for existing licensees.

The ruling means that those who hold the 88 craft grower licenses issued so far may proceed with plans for opening.

The restraining order, issued earlier this month, in effect had prevented existing license holders from moving forward with any plans.

The president of the Illinois Independent Craft Growers Association, Scott Redman, was relieved by the ruling.

“It means the state is open for business,” he said. “Had we been on hold much longer, it would have been catastrophic.”

Lawyers from the Illinois attorney general’s office argued that the delay would have unfairly hurt all the other applicants. Attorneys for the plaintiffs, a dozen applicants that didn’t get licenses, including Sustainable Innovations Inc., indicated they would file an amended complaint, and that many more license seekers may join them.

Only three licenses have been approved for pre-construction permits. Delays in licensing have caused some startups to lose the properties where they planned to set up shop, so some are still seeking properly zoned land and financing, and are facing supply chain shortages.

As a result, Redman predicted, most craft growers won’t open until next year.

Region: Chicago,City: Chicago,Business

via Chicago Tribune

June 15, 2022 at 04:13PM

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