There’s a push for legalization at a federal level. Chuck Schumer has been heavily pushing for the U.S. government to finally decriminalize cannabis and attempt to repair the damage of the war on drugs. However, it’s no coincidence that the widespread push is coming after plenty of states across America already began the process of establishing a legal cannabis market where one can simply head to the store to purchase a pre rolled cone or two.
Illinois, specifically, is ramping up the efforts to expand accessibility for recreational cannabis after it was legalized in January 2020. Per MJ Biz Daily, even more applicants for cannabis retail store licenses in the state will be qualified to open up their own dispensaries.
The number of qualified candidates leaped to 626 after the state rescored applications. It’s a stark contrast to 2020 when only 21 candidates qualified for the lottery to receive cannabis retail store licenses. The social equity applicants, which requires candidates to score at least 85% on the application in comparison to last year’s 100%, will receive an extra 20% to their score, thanks to Illinois marijuana laws.
The first drawing was set for July 29th, with two more set for Aug. 5th and Aug. 19th. On July 29th, 55 licenses were granted out of 937 candidates who submitted over 4,500 applications. On Aug. 5th, another 55 licenses will be handed out in areas that have been targeted by the war on drugs or with high arrest rates for marijuana-related offenses.
Finally, Aug. 19th’s lottery draw will grant the original 75 licenses that were initially meant to be issued in 2020.
“With the issuance of these first licenses, Illinois is expanding access to people and communities that were previously shut out,” the governor’s senior advisor on cannabis, Toi Hutchinson, said on Monday, Aug. 2nd after 70 adult-use business licenses were distributed. “We look forward to seeing businesses get off the ground in the months ahead.”