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*** UPDATED x1 *** Let’s get it together, please

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2019

* Molly Parker

The law allows current medical cannabis dispensary operators to seek a license to sell recreational marijuana, so long as they continue to provide products for medical use. The idea in allowing the medical marijuana dispensaries the ability to also sell recreational marijuana was to ensure the state has at least a minimum number of facilities open and operating on Jan. 1.

But some medical dispensaries may need to change locations. That could mean moving down the block where parking is better, or to another city entirely, if the one where the operator is presently located decides to prohibit recreational sales.

The law allows municipalities the ability to opt out, as well as implement zoning requirements, much like with liquor stores. Yet the state’s regulatory agency recently informed medical dispensary operators that if they move locations, they forgo their ability to receive a license for adult use recreational sales.

This narrow interpretation of the law runs counter to lawmakers’ intent, according to a letter from two of the bill’s sponsors sent to Pritzker late last week. It also represents an about-face by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, which issues the licenses.

What the what?

* There are other worries

Advocates are concerned that the state has not yet set up a funding program meant to make it easier for those with marijuana-related arrests on their records to start businesses in the industry. The application process for 75 new dispensaries opens Oct. 1, and time is running out, they say.

The applications will be the first path into the industry for entrepreneurs who don’t already operate a marijuana facility, and those applicants could face stumbling blocks if there isn’t clarity on the promised financial aid.

“People are … working on their plans, they’re working on their locations, they’re working on what they can work on, but they don’t know how much money they have to spend,” said Edie Moore, executive director of Chicago NORML, a marijuana reform nonprofit that has been working with people preparing to apply for licenses.

The state’s Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is charged with establishing the grant and loan program. Spokeswoman Charity Greene said it will issue details on the program, including loan and grant sizes, by the time the state begins accepting applications.

*** UPDATE *** From the governor’s office…

August 27, 2019
Senator Steans and Representative Cassidy:

Thank you for sharing your concerns about the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation’s implementation of certain provisions of the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act. Your dedication to this issue and leadership during the legislative session led to the most equity-centric law in the nation to legalize adult-use cannabis. Now through implementation, I am confident that we can build a safe, successful and equitable adult-use cannabis market.

The early access to market for existing medical dispensaries was intended to ensure that the State has a minimum number of facilities open and operating on January 1, 2020, and to allow the State to use funding from those early facilities to build a fund for social equity programs. Keeping equity in mind, however, the Act was also designed to balance this early growth for existing medical dispensaries with our commitment to bringing in new applicants through the social equity program.

With an understanding of the existing medical dispensaries’ current capacities, we struck that balance by providing the opportunity for existing medical dispensaries to open two adult use dispensaries before any new businesses can enter the market: one at their current medical dispensary and one at a different location. The language of the bill distinguishes between these two dispensaries. The statute specifically provides that the first is to be opened at “any medical cannabis dispensing location in operation on the effective date,” Section 15-15(a), and the second may be opened at “a secondary site…within any BLS region that shares territory with the dispensing organization district to which the medical cannabis dispensing organization is assigned,” Section 15-20(b).

This language allows for early expansion by the existing medical dispensaries but, importantly, seeks to ensure that they do not completely dominate the new market before new dispensaries can enter the market in July 2020. Any implementation of the early approval program by the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation must maintain this balance between early growth and social equity that was written into the law.

I appreciate the concerns that you and the medical cannabis industry have raised regarding medical dispensaries in operation on the effective date located in municipalities that ultimately opt out of adult-use cannabis or that impose zoning restrictions that prevent adult-use sales at the current medical dispensary sites. Medical dispensaries in such a situation are still permitted early access to the new adult-use market by opening a secondary site under the Act while continuing to operate their existing medical dispensary. At this time, the Department does not know how many medical dispensaries will not have the opportunity to operate at their current sites as many municipalities are still considering how to proceed. The Department will continue to monitor the situation to assess and my office is more than willing to discuss potential solutions with you when we have a better understanding of the scope of the problem.

We value your input as we work through implementation of this historic legislation and we look forward to continuing this conversation about how to ensure success for all aspects of this new industry.

Sincerely,
JB Pritzker

* And there’s this

Hope Smith said her 19-year-old daughter uses medical cannabis to alleviate a qualifying medical condition. She said her daughter was able to get more precise doses of the medicine by vaping or smoking it as opposed to other cannabis products.

After the governor signed the medical cannabis expansion measure making the pilot program permanent and adding conditions, Smith said she was told by her dispensary that the updated law no longer allows the sale of smokable products to adults younger than 21.

Smith said that needs to change for her daughter’s sake.

“The medical marijuana and dispensaries, and the diseases, for people that are able to buy it and are able to get the right medicine, I don’t want my child to turn to buying flower or vape on the street, I don’t want her to use an opioid,” Smith said. “Because those are unsafe.”

State Rep. Bob Morgan, D-Deerfield, sponsored the medical cannabis expansion measure the governor signed.

“There was a good intention behind [the change aligning with Tobacco 21] … but as with anything, there are unintended consequences with new legislation and I think this is a great example of the potential harm that can happen to individuals when you start to conflate different topics,” Morgan said.

* But check this out

Former Chicago Ald. Ameya Pawar wants to get into the cannabis business with a restaurant entrepreneur, a doctor and a political consultant. They’re angling for one of the 75 new licenses to operate a retail dispensary in Chicago once recreational use of marijuana becomes legal next year.

Pawar and his partners, including political consultant and fundraiser Hanah Jubeh, have come up with an over-the-top plan that combines elements of dining, spa and medicine with marijuana sales.

“We’re focused on total wellness,” says Pawar, a former 47th Ward alderman who briefly ran for governor in 2017 and then lost the city treasurer race in April. “It’s going to be a place where you could get a massage or take a yoga class, get a bite to eat and stop at the dispensary on your way out.”

* More

Additional partners to join Pawar and Weiner include:

    * Dr. George Chiampas, an emergency room doctor and medical director of the Chicago Marathon
    * Nikki Hayes, president of Laborers International Union of North America, Local 1001
    * Hanah Jubeh, a political consultant and fundraiser. […]

Pawar told Crain’s he plans to apply for social equity applicant status and aims to hire more than 50 percent of his staffers from areas affected by the war on drugs.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

44 Comments
  1. - Just Another Anon - Wednesday, Aug 28, 19 @ 10:36 am:

    Wasn’t one of the concerns which led to the creation of a “social equity applicant status” that politically connected individuals such as Pawar and Van Pelt would take up licenses from other smaller purveyors in the community?


  2. - Glum - Wednesday, Aug 28, 19 @ 10:41 am:

    The administration is really screwing this up. I get the need to make sure Social equity applicants get good spots, but creating chaos and long lines is not the way to do this.


  3. - OneLittleCherry - Wednesday, Aug 28, 19 @ 10:45 am:

    “The state’s Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is charged with establishing the grant and loan program.”

    Well then it’s just not going to happen on time. They are a hot hot mess.
    Where’s the 5 year Strategic Plan?
    It’s what happens when you hire nearly entirely from the private sector. They have no idea how to get public sector work done. More and more you will see all the hard work of Pritzker and the GA squandered in the execution phase of government work.
    All for naught


  4. - NeverPoliticallyCorrect - Wednesday, Aug 28, 19 @ 10:58 am:

    It’s not the problem of hiring from the private sector. It’s the problem of state government being incompetent. Over and over again good ideas and programs are delayed and destroyed because of poorly written laws, poor implementation on the part of state staff and unwillingness by the state to get out of the way.


  5. - OneLittleCherry - Wednesday, Aug 28, 19 @ 11:10 am:

    NeverPoliticallyCorrect, you don’t work there. You have no idea what you’re talking about. The overcompensated private sector management people are fully in charge and it’s going to be a real problem when they fail to deliver. They are violating ethics law all over the place by having private sector entities do pro bono work. It’s actually worse than the Rauner crew. Rauner knew enough to hide his tracks via Intersect Illinois. Because you don’t work in State Government NPC you have no idea how many competent and incredible people there are working for state government. Although I have to admit that many many people left/retired during the Rauner years. Because Pritzker failed to hire and promote from within we find ourselves with a severe loss of institutional knowledge and at the hands of private sector Napoleons who will, mark my words, make Pritzker a one term governor.
    Because failing to execute
    is still failing.
    Governors Own
    (hat tip to OW)


  6. - SSL - Wednesday, Aug 28, 19 @ 11:18 am:

    You paint a lovely picture OLC. A great idea poorly executed results in very little.


  7. - NoGifts - Wednesday, Aug 28, 19 @ 11:24 am:

    I think it’s weird that there’s a funding program to help low income individuals start a marijuana business, but as far as I know there’s not support if they wanted to start another kind of business.


  8. - Last Bull Moose - Wednesday, Aug 28, 19 @ 11:24 am:

    If he has not already done so, JB should appoint a staff member to surface and resolve problems. The person does not need line authority. They can work as the Admirals Aid, no formal authority but able to go directly to the Admiral if problems cannot be resolved.


  9. - Unsurprised - Wednesday, Aug 28, 19 @ 11:28 am:

    What a joke, Pewar applying for social equity status.


  10. - City Zen - Wednesday, Aug 28, 19 @ 11:29 am:

    ==Former Chicago Ald. Ameya Pawar wants to get into the cannabis business==

    Is it too lake to buy shares of Lake Michigan?


  11. - Fav human - Wednesday, Aug 28, 19 @ 11:30 am:

    ” Pewar applying for social equity status.”

    Maybe he can hire Candice to help him out with that…


  12. - SpfdNewb - Wednesday, Aug 28, 19 @ 11:36 am:

    -I think it’s weird that there’s a funding program to help low income individuals start a marijuana business, but as far as I know there’s not support if they wanted to start another kind of business.-

    Probably because there are other avenues to gather funding to open other kinds of businesses. Cannabis is still federally illegal, so anyone involved with lending are going to not touch a cannabis business with a 10 foot pole until that is settled.


  13. - NoGifts - Wednesday, Aug 28, 19 @ 11:36 am:

    We’re really going to assist people with marijuana arrest records or vulnerable to prosecution for other reasons to start a business that’s still against federal law, and could get you evicted from subsidized housing or other federal programs? I’m all for equity but it seems like this could go wrong in a number of ways. https://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-charges/federal-marijuana-laws.html


  14. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Aug 28, 19 @ 11:37 am:

    ===What a joke, Pewar applying for social equity status. ===

    He’s not rich and he’s a minority. What’s your beef?


  15. - Candy Dogood - Wednesday, Aug 28, 19 @ 12:11 pm:

    Rent seekers gonna rent seek.

    Home grow needs to be legalized in the the veto session.

    Though a $200 civil penalty if discovered growing 5 of fewer penalties isn’t the end of the world, but lord knows some of our sisters and brothers in blue are going to turn it into a federal task force.


  16. - {Sigh} - Wednesday, Aug 28, 19 @ 12:27 pm:

    =He’s not rich and he’s a minority=

    Well.. The way the bill is drafted a rich guy that is not a minority can also be a social equity applicant. The applicant needs 51% ownership and has to live in an area that meets the social equity criteria or hire 10 full time employees from impacted areas.


  17. - TheInvisibleMan - Wednesday, Aug 28, 19 @ 12:39 pm:

    I think this is just the start of all the problems that are going to show up with this program.

    The legislature made the mistake of listening to law enforcement when crafting these laws by pulling out piecemeal parts of the legislation in order to appease the reefer-madness attitudes in law enforcement.

    Unfortunately, when you take gears out of a larger machine one at a time, you break the intent of how the machine was intended to function.

    Can we please learn the lesson and not listen to law enforcement on this topic ever again?


  18. - Baloneymous - Wednesday, Aug 28, 19 @ 12:43 pm:

    One lawsuit and the entire adult use program goes up in smoke bc there is no severability clause and no study to back up the social equity piece.


  19. - {Sigh} - Wednesday, Aug 28, 19 @ 12:44 pm:

    =Can we please learn the lesson and not listen to law enforcement on this topic ever again?=

    Of the articles highlighted in this post, I’m not sure these were issues created by law enforcement’s input.


  20. - the Patriot - Wednesday, Aug 28, 19 @ 12:56 pm:

    The State, including legislature, and the media have known the pilot program was a legal dister due to lack of rules and oversight enforcement. They ignored the warning because we want Pot now.

    A little investigative reporting looking at public records where the cultivation centers and dispensaries are located with review of news articles would confirm this. But of course we don’t do that type of thing in IL.


  21. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Aug 28, 19 @ 1:00 pm:

    ===pilot program was a legal dister due to lack of rules and oversight ===

    lol


  22. - the Patriot - Wednesday, Aug 28, 19 @ 1:07 pm:

    –lol–

    How many lawsuits were filed against these entities?

    How many millions of dollars were lost or sued for due to legal loopholes?

    how many licenses were transferred with no public notice or disclosure?

    But hey, lol, you didn’t get scrwed by these vendors because the state was not regulating them. lol


  23. - TheInvisibleMan - Wednesday, Aug 28, 19 @ 1:14 pm:

    @Sigh

    The woman with the 19yr old daughter should be able to grow her own. Because of law enforcement threatening to oppose legalization if homegrow was added, that option was removed for that woman and her child.

    Law enforcement still opposed the plan, even after the option was removed in good faith negotiations with them.

    Law enforcement input is not needed, or wanted. Police can individually vote, just like the rest of the population.


  24. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Aug 28, 19 @ 1:23 pm:

    “I don’t want my child to turn to buying flower or vape on the street”

    Agree very much with this and hope MMJ advocates turn up the pressure to fix this.


  25. - Maryjane - Wednesday, Aug 28, 19 @ 1:40 pm:

    - the Patriot:
    “How many (etc.)?” ‘Great questions. Indeed, please tell us, one by one.

    - TheInvisibleMan:
    Agreed. When home-grow for all was eliminated to appease le, the other provisions (opt-out, limited retail options, possession limits), I believe were not changed to make up for the loss.

    - Candy Dogood: Agreed.

    And in reference to the article posted, hopefully come the new year (which will be here very soon), Ms. Smith and her daughter will benefit from the network of Medical Cannabis Patients and care-givers, who, not looking to make a buck, will be growing their own medicine, and shall help her learn how to grow her own medicine, so she, can then assist others. In the meantime she can always check out Youtube and Google for information and instruction for growing Cannabis at home.

    As far as the former Alderman and all of the connected people moving millions of dollars, and hundreds(?) of pounds of Cannabis: It makes it clear that limiting a (non connected)adult to one ounce is nothing short of a blatant and unforgivable insult. That provision should be eliminated at once imo.


  26. - cannabisinsider - Wednesday, Aug 28, 19 @ 1:49 pm:

    I think people are upset because Pawar and Jubeh have ZERO experience in any of these industries and are trying to clout their way into a license. Typical Chicago. Create a cartel by approving so few licenses and then give them away to connected insiders that have ZERO experience in the industry.


  27. - City Zen - Wednesday, Aug 28, 19 @ 2:08 pm:

    ==Pawar and Jubeh have ZERO experience in any of these industries and are trying to clout their way into a license.==

    Rainbow Hash Coalition


  28. - the Patriot - Wednesday, Aug 28, 19 @ 2:10 pm:

    If people on this site want it published, they have the ability to do so.

    The problemss for the most part are solvable, but not if we keep acting like they don’t exist. Pro-legalization people need to get the information out there so we can start solving problems and move on.


  29. - Dotnonymous - Wednesday, Aug 28, 19 @ 2:18 pm:

    May a person who is not a medical patient teach medical patients how to grow their own medicine…legally?…is a good question?


  30. - pflueger - Wednesday, Aug 28, 19 @ 3:46 pm:

    ==He’s not rich and he’s a minority.==

    I dont think personal wealth or minority status has anything to do with being a social equity candidate in the new law. You just need a pot arrest or conviction, have a family member with a pot arrest or conviction or live in a poor neighborhood where there have been a lot of pot arrests or convictions.


  31. - Kentucky Bluegrass x Featherbed Bent x Northern California Sinsemilla - Wednesday, Aug 28, 19 @ 3:51 pm:

    So the lawmakers intended for the current dispensaries to be able to move to better locations before any of the social equity applicants even got their license?


  32. - Dotnonymous - Wednesday, Aug 28, 19 @ 3:55 pm:

    If(after legalization)I am found in possession of thirty-one grams of cannabis by LEO…what happens next?…does the LEO confiscate the one gram over…or all of my legal property?…is another fairly good question?


  33. - @misterjayem - Wednesday, Aug 28, 19 @ 3:55 pm:

    I hope these problems are addressed as soon as possible, but it comes as no surprise that winding-down a decades-long, racist War on Drugs hasn’t been a simple matter.

    – MrJM


  34. - Rasselas - Wednesday, Aug 28, 19 @ 4:01 pm:

    This is one of the few times I agree with the late Justice Scalia. I don’t give a damn what your ‘intent’ was. If you didn’t draft the law correctly, you didn’t draft the law correctly. You shouldn’t expect the executive branch to fix your error by ‘interpretation’ along the lines of what you meant to draft. (Same situation with Sterigenics.)


  35. - Nick Name - Wednesday, Aug 28, 19 @ 4:16 pm:

    ===You shouldn’t expect the executive branch to fix your error by ‘interpretation’ along the lines of what you meant to draft===

    Except, that’s exactly what the executive branch does with administrative rules.


  36. - don the legend - Wednesday, Aug 28, 19 @ 4:27 pm:

    I can’t decide if the Patriot smoked before his posts or if I need to smoke to understand his posts.


  37. - pflueger - Wednesday, Aug 28, 19 @ 4:35 pm:

    ==Aims to hire more than 50 percent of his staffers from areas affected by the war on drugs.==

    Addendum, I believe the new awards social equity status, preferences and access to Grant’s and loans to anyone submitting this type of hiring plan.


  38. - Shevek - Wednesday, Aug 28, 19 @ 4:43 pm:

    Hey, how come my posts never show up?


  39. - LoyalVirus - Wednesday, Aug 28, 19 @ 4:49 pm:

    Last Bill Moose- have never heard of term “admiral” but agree 100% - & imagine they could use one for gaming too & maybe the Capital bill as well.


  40. - {Sigh} - Wednesday, Aug 28, 19 @ 6:09 pm:

    @ TheInvisibleMan

    =The woman with the 19yr old daughter should be able to grow her own. Because of law enforcement threatening to oppose legalization if homegrow was added, that option was removed for that woman and her child.=

    {sigh} go read the medical expansion bill and adult use. Medical cannabis patients can grow at home.


  41. - Cannabisminority - Wednesday, Aug 28, 19 @ 6:52 pm:

    Cannabis insider:
    Who has experience in the industry? The privileged white guys who come from venture capital? Give me a break.


  42. - the Patriot - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 8:47 am:

    If you speak to enough legislators/sponsors of the bill and regulators with the Department of Ag, you will figure out the problems with the bill did not sneak up on anyone. They knew they were there all along so operators could operate a cash business with little or no oversight.

    This is IL, it does not take a a rocket scientest to figure out why politicians create a large cash only business with little or no actual regulation. Follow the money.


  43. - cannabisinsider - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 2:26 pm:

    ===Cannabisminority:

    Who has experience in the industry? The privileged white guys who come from venture capital? Give me a break. ===

    And excuse me but who is the money behind Pawar’s venture? A white guy…

    I don’t know where you’ve been for last 20 years, but the marijuana industry in IL is not run by white dude venture capitalists. Just nonsense.

    Also I have friends that used to be union tradesmen downstate, lost their jobs, picked up and moved to CA to grow pot. They have been successful and would love to move back to IL and operate here, but can’t if all the licenses are given out to connected insiders with zero experience


  44. - Cannabisminority - Thursday, Aug 29, 19 @ 9:16 pm:

    CannabisInsider-
    I don’t know who Pawar’s money person is. I don’t care. It’s Interesting your friends had no experience at one point and now they do. Funny how that works, right?


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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