Illinois Supreme Court orders consolidation of lawsuits by applicants challenging the recreational cannabis licensing process

The Chicago Tribune reports..

The Illinois Supreme Court ordered the consolidation of lawsuits filed by cannabis dispensary license applicants in an attempt to resolve multiple claims challenging the fairness of the licensing process.

At the request of the Illinois attorney general’s office, the court ordered that several cases be heard together, which could help decide the fate of all 185 new recreational marijuana retail licenses.

The awarding of those licenses have been held up indefinitely by Cook County Judge Moshe Jacobius while he decides a case involving two applicants, WAH Group LLC and HAAAYY LLC vs. Bret Bender, deputy director of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR), which awards the licenses.

The Supreme Court Monday ordered that a suit by Magic Sparks LLC, against the IDFPR, be transferred from DuPage County to Cook County. There it would be combined with the WAH case, as well as suits by High Haven Dispensary LLC, Green Equity Ventures 1 and Hempathy LLC, under the heading of High Haven.

Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s office had argued in court papers that combining the cases would avoid potentially conflicting rulings.

The licensing process has been in turmoil since early 2020, when state officials delayed it, blaming the COVID-19 pandemic. In September 2020, only 21 out of more than 700 applicants were given perfect scores on their license applications, qualifying them for a lottery to award 75 licenses.

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