CHICAGO (AP) — An effort by the Illinois Craft Cannabis Association to force Gov. J.B. Pritzker to award grower licenses to its more than three dozen member has been rebuffed by a Cook County judge.
By law, 40 grower licenses were to be issued by July 1, but Pritzker hasn’t issued them. He initially cited the COVID-19 pandemic for delays in reviewing applications.
The Chicago Tribune reported that in a ruling issued on Christmas Eve, Judge Allen Walker said the governor’s initial reason for delaying the licenses was insufficient.
But Walker also wrote Pritzker has since clarified that the delay was necessary because the Illinois Department of Agriculture is now concentrating on oversight of meat and livestock facilities and the food supply chain due to the pandemic.
Craft grower association spokesman Paul Magelli said the group is considering an appeal.
In addition to the craft grower licenses, the Pritzker administration has delayed the issuance of infuser and transporter licenses, and licenses for 75 new recreational marijuana retail stores, which were to be awarded May 1.
Successful and unsuccessful applicants say the delay is costing them thousands of dollars to keep their business groups intact.