Recreational cannabis business licenses remain pending while legal disputes continue. One group claims it was mistakenly kept out of the lottery. | Government and politics

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A judge in Illinois continued to hold licenses for new cannabis deals pending, while a plaintiff alleges the state falsely kept them out of the first licensing lottery.

Cook County Judge Moshe Jacobius has ordered the state not to issue new pharmacy licenses, including medicinal cannabis, until he has resolved a lawsuit pending before him. The state plans to hold the last of three license lotteries on August 19, but the judge’s order means the winners will not receive any of the 185 new licenses until the judge decides. State officials noted that lottery results may change due to further court orders or administrative reviews.

A company called Wah Group LLC alleged that state officials falsely excluded one of its applications that qualified for the St. Louis area lottery. Court records from Wah attorney Mazie Harris allege state officials told the Wah that it would qualify for the next lottery.

Wah and Haaayy LLC have alleged that the state process for evaluating cannabis license applications was flawed and wrongly required veteran possession in order to get a perfect score and qualify for all lotteries. The next court hearing is scheduled for Monday.

After only 21 applicants had qualified for 75 new licenses last year, Governor JB Pritzker admitted problems with the evaluation process carried out by the consultant KPMG and ordered a reassessment of the applications. These results were released on July 28, more than a year late, and the winners were eligible for up to three lotteries.

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Other lawsuits also question the state approval process.

On July 30, JG IL LLC, Emerald Coast LLC and Renu LLC, represented by civil rights law firm Jon Loevy, a founder of licensed cannabis breeder Justice Grown, filed a federal lawsuit for alleged scoring failures and asked the court to attend to order the lotteries.

The lawsuit alleges that JG was falsely denied as a social justice petitioner, while Emerald Coast was falsely denied veteran property status and ReNu was falsely denied property by Illinois residents and veterans, all of which cost them vital items in evaluating their claims.

JG argued that it qualified for social justice status because more than 51% of its workforce lived in areas designated as disproportionately affected by the drug war under state cannabis laws. It found that other applicants were also denied their rightful social justice status.

Members of the Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul argued in court records that the allegations were unfounded. For example, they argued that JG IL only provided records for eight employees, not the ten required.

ReNu changed hands after the death of its main owner, John Martin, but was unable to provide required evidence that Martin had initially qualified for Illinois owned or veteran ownership status at the time the original application was filed, prosecutors argued.

However, Emerald Coast filed a document in court that appears to contain information about his veteran ownership status. The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, which oversees the pharmacy licensing process, is investigating whether this information is sufficient to prove veteran possession and therefore get a perfect score to qualify for the lotteries.

In the first lottery on July 29th, ReNu and Emerald Coast won the cannabis company chance while JG’s score was too low to qualify. But all three companies claim that they should have gotten perfect results and entered all the lotteries.

The attorney general also found that statewide courts have dismissed a multitude of lawsuits related to cannabis because the plant remains illegal under federal law.

Any applicant can apply for a review in a state court after the state’s approval process is complete, they argued, but not while it is still in progress.

There are likely to be other lawsuits challenging the licensing process, as has happened in other states.

A lawsuit filed by Sozo Illinois Inc. was dropped last month after Black and Latino claimants alleged that doing so would only further delay licensing.

When asked for a comment, Charity Greene, a spokeswoman for Governor JB Pritzker, did not respond to the question of whether applicants were falsely excluded from the lotteries, but wrote: “IDFPR strives to enable a fair and equitable licensing process for all entitled” . Participant. While we can’t comment on active litigation, the department will continue to work towards a legal cannabis industry that will fix the damage of the past and create opportunities for all Illinois people. “

4 Things You Should Know About the Illinois Mask Rule for Students and Government Employees

STUDENTS

All school children from preschool age to 12th grade must wear a face covering.

The state’s largest teachers’ union, the Illinois Education Association, issued a statement approving the governor’s actions.

“Let’s pull together and take care of each other. Vax up and mask. We owe it to our students and we owe it to each other, ”said Kathi Griffin, president of the Illinois Education Association. “We are so grateful to have leadership in this state that is not allowing the virus to fester and grow. But it is up to all of us to bring COVID-19 to our knees. “

Illinois has 1.8 million children under the age of 12 who are not yet eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. All Illinois residents over the age of 12 are eligible for the free COVID-19 vaccine.

STATE WORKERS

STATE WORKERS

The compulsory vaccination for state employees applies to employees in correctional facilities and juvenile detention centers, veterans’ homes and state institutions for mentally and developmentally disabled people. Everyone must be fully vaccinated by October 4th.

Pritzker ordered last week that anyone entering a state building must wear face coverings. He said Wednesday masks are required in all long-term care facilities, including those privately owned.


Erin Hooley / Chicago Tribune

THE BACKGROUND

THE BACKGROUND

According to the governor’s office, “The new measures are part of the state’s ongoing efforts to combat a new surge as the delta variant is rapidly spreading among the unvaccinated. Since COVID-19 metrics bottomed out earlier this summer, cases have increased by a factor of nearly 10, hospital admissions and ICU rates have more than doubled in a month, and the number of COVID patients who need a ventilator has more than doubled has multiplied almost 2.5 times since July 16. As of June, 96 percent of people in Illinois hospitalized with COVID-19 were unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, with most of those hospitalizations occurring in residents under the age of 60. “


CHARLES REX ARBOGAST, RELATED PRESS

WHAT’S NEXT

WHAT'S NEXT

Private and public employers have begun requiring vaccinations against the deadly virus – President Joe Biden is considering such a requirement for all federal employees – and the law appears to be on the boss’s side. Employers can make vaccinations a condition of employment, experts say.