Just two days before state officials are slated to unleash a new batch of lucrative pot shop permits, a Michigan-based cannabis firm dropped a federal lawsuit Tuesday that threatened to derail the long-delayed licensing process amid pressure from a coalition of minority applicants.
Sozo Health filed the suit July 16 against Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the acting director of the state agency that oversees dispensaries, claiming the state’s licensing rules are unfair and sought to delay three upcoming lotteries to issue 185 dispensary licenses.
The move came just a day after Pritzker enacted a law that created many of the new licenses in a bid to get the problematic process back on track. That same day, his administration also scheduled the lottery drawings, the first of which is set for Thursday.
For over a year, the licensing rollout has been stymied by delays, litigation and protests from applicants who criticized the grading process and railed against the clouted and well-financed firms that have already qualified to win permits prioritized to social equity candidates, a designation created to bolster minority participation in the lily-white weed industry.
Some minority applicants have now banded together to lobby for their mutual interests and