Members of the Illinois state legislature have given final approval to legislation aimed at increasing diversity in the state’s marijuana industry.
House Bill 1443 would create 110 new marijuana dispensary licenses, which will be awarded to qualified applicants via two separate lotteries comprised of 55 licenses in each.
The second lottery is reserved for equity applicants who have or whose family members have, a past marijuana conviction, or who live in a “disproportionately impacted area” for at least 10 years.
After a lottery of 75 licenses that were originally supposed to be awarded in May 2020 was delayed due to various lawsuits filed by applicants who were not selected to participate, this measure serves as a compromise between Pritzker’s administration and these other applicants who say the state’s scoring process was unfair.
The bill now heads to the desk of Governor JB Pritzker, who is expected to sign it into law imminently.
“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,” Gov. Pritzker said in a statement.