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Pritzker Pot Plan Offers Offenders Inside Track on Licenses

Those with cannabis convictions may be eligible for preferential treatment under a plan championed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker that aims to help communities most affected by the state’s war on drugs share the economic benefits of legal weed. Timed with the lifting of prohibition for recreational use that takes effect in January, the governor is putting convicts in pole position when the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) doles out 75 dispensary licenses next year, with almost two-thirds of those in Chicagoland. That is, provided they meet eligibility requirements and site their stores in areas where cannabis crime is rampant under the current regime.

In keeping with landmark social equity caveats written into the legislation, qualified applicants will be spotted 50 of the 200 points needed to score licenses that will be issued in May. The state Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is offering low-interest loans to cover start-up costs, including a $5000 licence fee, and planning support to seed those businesses. Applications can be found on the IDFPR website and must be submitted by January 2nd, one day after Illinois becomes the 11th state in the country to allow residents to possess small amounts of leaf, concentrates and edibles.