Illinois Delays Recreational Pot Licenses, Citing COVID-19

By Sarah Jarvis
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Law360 (April 29, 2020, 8:08 PM EDT) -- An Illinois state agency announced Wednesday that Gov. J.B. Pritzker will sign an executive order suspending a requirement that the state issue up to 75 recreational cannabis licenses by May 1, as a response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation said the requirement will be suspended for the duration of the state's disaster proclamations, or until the agency announces a new date. A spokeswoman for Pritzker's office said the executive order would be signed Thursday.

Toi Hutchinson, senior adviser for cannabis control to Pritzker, said in a statement that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused delays in the application review process.

"We recognize that countless entrepreneurs were looking forward to May 1 and the next step it represented for Illinois' adult use cannabis industry," Hutchinson said. "This executive order will help ensure that we continue to build out this industry in a deliberate and equity-centric manner."

The agency said it will provide a public notice announcing the new date when licenses will be issued "as soon as feasible."

A spokesman for the IDFPR declined to comment further Wednesday.

Also citing the coronavirus pandemic, Pritzker announced last week that landlords are blocked from evicting tenants unless they pose a direct health or safety risk to others, an "immediate or severe" risk to property, or a violation to building or health codes.

The state has taken several other measures in light of the pandemic, including suspending the 90-day limitation on temporary insurance producer licenses, allowing insurance producer and public adjuster licenses to be completed online, extending the expiration dates for certain certifications and suspending the garnishment of wages for consumer debts.

--Additional reporting by Jeannie O'Sullivan. Editing by Abbie Sarfo.

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