Illinois Grants First Social Justice Cannabis Retail Licenses

This article was written by Joana Scopel and originally published on Benzinga.

Illinois recently issued a total of 185 marijuana dispensary licenses for adult use to social justice applicants.

“We look forward to getting these businesses up and running, creating jobs in communities hardest hit by the failed drug war, and solidifying ownership of Illinois’ cannabis industry as the most diverse in the nation,” said Gov. JB Pritzker.

Now, an ownership group made up of “affluent and connected” Chicago entrepreneurs has received one of the first social justice recreational marijuana retail licenses issued by state regulatory agencies.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the Green Rose Dispensary will open its doors shortly in a prominent location in the River North neighborhood. The state also approved a second stock pharmacy, Ivy Hall Damen*, in the Wicker Park area of ​​the city, which opened its doors on November 14.

Green Rose qualified for an equity permit by hiring employees who had minor marijuana-related convictions or lived in areas with high rates of cannabis arrests or poverty. Its owners include Thomas Wheeler Jr., a former Chicago police detective and drug unit veteran.

In addition, the state is offering a total of $8.75 million to conditionally approved social justice cannabis licensees.


Does Illinois social justice live up to the hype?

According to a recent press release from Gov. Pritzker and the state Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunities, “subject to the completion of a simplified documentation process, eligible loan amounts between $50,000 and $500,000 will be released immediately.”

With retail sales beginning on January 1, 2020, Illinois became the first state to approve licenses.

However, court cases and other delays prevented retailers under the Social Justice program from opening immediately, and some had to wait nearly three years to be licensed to operate.

*Editor’s Note: Ivy Hall Damen is a minority-owned company with 61% Black ownership.

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