Illinois Legislature Passes New Bill to Expand Cannabis Licensing

More than 100 additional recreational marijuana dispensaries will be coming to Illinois under a bill approved by state lawmakers last week. The measure, HB 1443, received nearly unanimous approval from the state Senate on Friday after being passed by a bipartisan majority of the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

Passage of the bill in Illinois clears the way for the issuance of licenses for 75 adult-use cannabis dispensaries that were scheduled to be awarded in May 2020 but were delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The measure also includes provisions to support social equity applicants in the selection process for 110 additional retail cannabis dispensary licenses. Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker is expected to sign the legislation, according to media reports.

“As a state that values making our laws reflective of our diverse communities, we must ensure that social justice is at the center of everything we do—and today, that means building upon our work of passing the most equity-centric cannabis law in the nation,” Pritzker said last week after the bill was approved by the Illinois House of Representatives.

The bill is designed to rectify controversies with the 2019 Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, which legalized the use and sale of adult-use cannabis

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