Illinois Judge Says Ongoing Lawsuit Could Cause Cannabis Licensing Redo
Henryk Sadura | Adobe Stock

Illinois Judge Says Ongoing Lawsuit Could Cause Cannabis Licensing Redo

Judge Moshe Jacobius ruled that WAH Group LLC was unfairly excluded from the state’s licensing lottery and said the company’s lawsuit could ultimately upend Illinois’ licensing process.

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August 17, 2021

Cook County Judge Moshe Jacobius ruled Aug. 16 that WAH Group LLC was unfairly excluded from Illinois’ cannabis retail licensing lottery and said the company’s ongoing lawsuit could ultimately upend the state’s licensing process, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

WAH Group alleges in its lawsuit that state officials mistakenly excluded the company from Illinois’ first lottery to issue new dispensary licenses, which took place July 29.

The lawsuit takes aim at the state’s scoring process, which WAH Group claims was unfair because regulators awarded bonus points to applications submitted by veteran-owned businesses. WAH Group revealed that one of the company’s partners was a veteran during a supplementary scoring period, the Chicago Sun-Times reported, after applicants learned that those extra points were needed to receive a perfect score on its application and qualify for the licensing lottery.

Illinois plans to issue 185 new cannabis retail licenses in a series of three lotteries; the second one took place Aug. 5 and the third and final lottery will be held Aug. 19.

During the Aug. 16 hearing, Jacobius ordered WAH Group LLC to be included in the Aug. 19 lottery and indicated that the ongoing litigation could force the state to redo its licensing process.

“We can’t predict the future,” Jacobius said in his ruling, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “And counsel says that if you ultimately rule that the whole structure was improper, then the whole thing will have to be redone over again. That may very well be, but I can’t anticipate what’s going to happen.”

Jacobius has allowed Illinois to hold its licensing lotteries and publish the winners, the news outlet reported, but the final licenses will not be issued before another court hearing on Sept. 1.