villanueva 041321CHICAGO – Legislation supported by State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) that addresses licensing issues in the state’s adult-use cannabis industry was signed into law on Thursday.

“I’m proud of the work the Black and Latino Caucuses did to ensure social equity within the cannabis industry through the changes in House Bill 1443,” Villanueva said. “I hope this move brings the needed diversity to the industry so that we can begin to correct the decades of harm done to our communities through the war on drugs.”

House Bill 1443 addresses complications with the launch of the Illinois Adult-Use Cannabis Social Equity Program, which failed to award the intended amount of social equity applicants with licenses. Due to delays brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and a faulty scoring system, only 52 of 75 licenses were issued. None of these licenses were awarded to majority Black, Latino or women-owned businesses.

The law creates a new lottery to issue five outstanding medical cannabis dispensary licenses, and two additional lotteries of 55 recreational dispensary licenses each. It also fixes various technical issues with packaging, employment and medical patient access.

Public Act 102-98 is effective immediately.