Senate passes bill that would allow Buffalo Grove dispensary to sell recreational pot

 
Updated 5/28/2021 6:39 PM

The state Senate on Friday approved changes to the 2019 Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act that proponents say would encourage diversity in dispensary licensing.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he will sign the bill.

 

House Bill 1443 also would provide more opportunities for social equity applicants to receive dispensary licenses, benefiting Black and Brown communities and business owners across the state, proponents said.

But it also would enable Buffalo Grove's medical dispensary to sell recreational marijuana. The Sunnyside dispensary had a recreational license for its previous location, 1623 Barclay Blvd., but its move to 830 Milwaukee Ave. required it go to the end of the line and reapply for state approval, according to the interpretation of existing state law by Pritzker's office.

On Tuesday, when the measure passed the House, State Rep. Daniel Didech, a Democrat from Buffalo Grove who sponsored the bill, said in a news release, "The tax revenue generated by the Buffalo Grove dispensary will help fund much-needed infrastructure improvements, support our police and fire services, and avert unnecessary property tax increases."

The measure sets up two additional lotteries with 110 additional licenses available, in addition to the current 75-license lottery. The lotteries would focus on dispensary applicants who fall into the definition of a social equity applicant or who promise to employ those who fall into the definition.

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State Sen. Cristina Castro, a Democrat from Elgin, hailed the social equity changes.

"Social equity has always been at the forefront of cannabis legislation in Illinois, and it's important that Illinois continue to be a leader as more states legalize," Castro said.

"These additional dispensary lotteries will allow those who have historically been disproportionately affected by unjust cannabis laws to help shape the industry here in Illinois," she added.

The legislation also would clarify provisions regarding medical dispensary licensing, container requirements and more.

"Equity is at the core of cannabis legalization in Illinois, and this essential legislation will accelerate our collective vision to make sure that the communities harmed the most by the war on drugs can participate in this industry as it grows," the governor said in a news release Friday. "I look forward to signing this bill into law so that we can begin the next phase creating a cannabis industry that reflects the diversity of all of our people."

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