Marijuana equity bill heads to Governor’s desk

State News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (NEXSTAR) — The plan to fix the state’s broken marijuana dispensary lottery system is heading to the Governor’s desk.

The senate passed the proposal on a bipartisan vote.

The bill expands the first round of the lottery to include 175 licenses, up from the original 75. It also creates a second tier of scoring for social equity applicants that will give them a chance at a license despite not getting a perfect score in the lottery. Fifty of the licenses will be reserved specifically for social equity applicants.

The bill only needs Governor Pritzker’s signature. He praised the policy following its passing in the House earlier this week.

“Equity is at the core of cannabis legalization in Illinois, and this essential legislation will accelerate our collective vision to make sure that the communities harmed the most by the war on drugs can participate in this industry as it grows,” Governor JB Pritzker said in a statement after the vote in the senate. 2“Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford and Representative La Shawn K. Ford helped bring so many advocates together to improve upon our historic law, and I am grateful for their work ushering this bill to my desk. I look forward to signing this bill into law so that we can begin the next phase creating a cannabis industry that reflects the diversity of all of our people.”

Dispensary applicants have been waiting for over a year for the lottery to take place. Pritzker stopped the first lottery from happening after the pool of eligible applicants did not reflect the diverse market the governor promised.

There is still not a set date for the next drawing of the lottery.

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