State regulators in Illinois announced on Wednesday that they will delay awarding licenses for 75 new recreational marijuana dispensaries because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) said that the licenses, which were scheduled to be awarded on May 1, will be postponed until after disaster proclamations from Gov. J.B. Pritzker expire or when the state sets a new date. The governor is expected to sign an executive order this week that will extend the state’s stay-at-home order and closure of nonessential businesses through the end of May.
Applications for the 75 retail licenses were due on January 1, the day recreational marijuana sales began in Illinois, with existing medical marijuana dispensaries receiving the first licenses to sell adult-use pot. More than 700 applications were submitted for the licenses, which were slated to be awarded on Friday. But Toi Hutchinson, Pritzker’s senior adviser on cannabis control, said on Wednesday that the applicants would have to wait longer because of the coronavirus outbreak.
“The Pritzker administration remains committed to creating a legal cannabis industry that reflects the diversity of Illinois residents. We recognize that countless entrepreneurs were looking forward to May 1 and the