Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » Nearly 2,700 applications filed for 55 dispensary licenses; Higher ed and cannabis; Strike at three dispensaries; Jim Belushi buys Illinois grow facility
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Nearly 2,700 applications filed for 55 dispensary licenses; Higher ed and cannabis; Strike at three dispensaries; Jim Belushi buys Illinois grow facility

Friday, Apr 28, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Press release…

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (”IDFPR”) announced today it received 2,693 applications for the upcoming Social Equity Criteria Lottery (”SECL”). This lottery will distribute the next round of 55 conditional adult use cannabis dispensary licenses across the 17 Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Regions. The list of applicants participating in the SECL may be found on IDFPR’s website here. Applicants are encouraged to review the list and confirm that they have been properly listed for any BLS Region in which they applied. The SECL will be conducted by IDFPR with the Illinois Lottery in early- to mid-May. The date will be announced by IDFPR as soon as possible.

“Our simplified online application process increased the accessibility for individuals of all backgrounds and from all over Illinois to have the opportunity to write the next chapter of the most equitable cannabis industry in the country,” said IDFPR Secretary Mario Treto, Jr. “As part of the Pritzker Administration, we are committed to ensuring Illinois’ cannabis industry continues to set the gold standard for social equity and that it continues to flourish to create additional resources for communities and individuals across the state.” […]

Following the lottery, each applicant selected will have 45 calendar days to prove certain social equity eligibility criteria in order to receive a conditional license. […]

IDFPR will have at least 60 calendar days after the lottery to ensure the 55 applicants selected in the lottery meet the criteria detailed above. Applicants selected in the lottery will be provided an opportunity to provide supplemental information to satisfy these criteria if needed. If an applicant selected in the lottery does not provide the supplemental information, the conditional license will be offered to the next applicant drawn in that BLS Region, who must then meet the social equity eligibility criteria.

* More from Green Market Report

That’s almost three times the number of applicants that competed for the 185 licenses that were up for grabs in lotteries held two years ago. […]

Under the new rules, gone are the lengthy applications that required extensive business plans, covering everything from security to operations, which ran thousands of pages and cost many applicants thousands of dollars to complete. The cost to submit an application also dropped from $2,500 to $250.

Perhaps the biggest change is allowing only one application per applicant, leveling the playing field and increasing the number of people or groups who would receive licenses. In the previous lotteries, 937 applicants who submitted 4,000 applications competed for 185 licenses. Under the new criteria, about 2,700 applicants will compete for 55 licenses. […]

Only applicants who win a lottery pick to receive a license will then have to prove they meet the criteria. One of the complaints about the prior process was that applicants spent thousands of dollars to apply and meet the standards for ownership only to lose out on the luck of the draw.

* WBEZ has a story on higher education and the cannabis industry

Ascend Wellness Holdings, a multi-state operator with a large grow facility in Barry, Ill., works with Western Illinois University in Macomb. […]

People have a lot of class choices in the Western program. Horticulture 357, Cannabis Production, is one of three core classes students have to take. But they can also choose from electives such as hydroponic plant production and crop biotechnology.

The production minor also requires a three-hour practicum, where students volunteer at facilities like those at Ascend or Nature’s Grace. Hennings said the idea is to integrate students into an actual operation as they’re getting ready to graduate with the skills the cannabis industry wants.

* Scabby the Rat also made a picket-line appearance

As workers at three local marijuana dispensaries, including two in Joliet, continue to strike, the employees have gotten support from an Illinois state senator who says the workers deserve a share of the more than $ 1 billion in pot profits they are helping to produce.

Sen. Rachel Ventura (D-Joliet) said that pot sales in Illinois generated $1.5 billion in 2022 and that employees at RISE dispensaries who went on strike last week over the lack of a fair contract should benefit from those profits.

In Fiscal Year 2022, Ventura said that Illinois cannabis sales generated $466.8 million in state taxes on the $1.5 billion in sales. Illinois total dispensary sales reached over three billion in total over the last three years, she said.

Workers at the dispensaries in Joliet and Niles went on strike last week after months of negotiating for a fair contract and are seeking better wages and retirement benefits, representatives from Local Teamsters 777 said. The last straw came, union officials said, when employees were forced to remove pins they were wearing calling for a fair contract by officials from Green Thumb Industries, which runs the dispensaries.


“This is the first cannabis strike in the country,” James Glimco, president of Lyons-based Teamsters Local 777, said Wednesday as he joined striking workers at the Rise dispensary near the Louis Joliet Mall.

Workers are seeking a contract agreement with higher wages, improved retirement benefits, and better access to health insurance.

Starting hourly wage at the dispensaries is $16.50, and the union wants to raise it to $19. […]

But there have been no contract negotiations since the strike started, he said.

“They’re playing hardball,” Glimco said. “I hear they’re advertising trying to hire people.”

Here’s Scabby

…Adding… Excerpt from Rep. Larry Walsh’s statement

The owners and operators of the RISE Dispensaries last year reported more than $1 Billion in revenue last year and a 14% growth in profits. Those profits were made due to the efforts of these workers. I fully support and stand in solidarity with their incredibly brave decision to fight for better wages and benefits. […]

It doesn’t matter if you are a machinist, carpenter, teacher, plumber, or a dispensary employee. If you work here in Illinois you deserve a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work. That is what this country was built on and union organization, negotiation, and, as a last resort, strikes are what will continue to support and revitalize the middle class in these difficult post-pandemic times.

* And the latest episode in the series “Growing Belushi” has a Shelbyville angle

Chris sells Jim on buying a “turnkey facility” in Illinois, but the operation turns out to be growing bunk weed and will need a complete overhaul.

From from Redditt

The episode went into great detail about the tons of improvements they put into the center, including a radiation remediation machine that costs a cool $400k! They also upgraded lights, HVAC, Vertification and better waste water management.

LA Weekly

We asked Belushi what going national meant to him. Was it licensing intellectual property? Setting up gardens in other states?

“Lot of it is licensing. But vetting out the growers and the companies,” Belushi explained. “We got a great opportunity and Shelbyville, Illinois, taking over indoor grow that was a charity grow, all the profits go to charity. And we are taking that over and actually kind of doing like a Bar Rescue of like going into this girl upgrading everything and it becomes a Belushi Farms in Illinois. So we’re going to be growing in Illinois. We’re growing in Oregon and we’re licensing other places, other states, and possibly growing in Albania.”

From the show…

…Adding… I’m told by an expert in the field that Belushi was exaggerating about Illinois law. “Some failures are immediate destruction, other test failures can be remediated. The testing rules outline the options.”


  1. - Dotnonymous - Friday, Apr 28, 23 @ 12:12 pm:

    “This is the first cannabis strike in the country,”- James Glimco

    Illinois leads the way, again…Pot potentates must pay up.

  2. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Apr 28, 23 @ 12:23 pm:

    No way should people have to travel very far to adult use marijuana dispensaries when they can get liquor nearby somewhere. Good that the licensing process is finally moving along, to bring more shops and easier shopping.

    The Minnesota Senate is debating cannabis legalization on the floor right now. Lots of money and tax revenue to be made that doesn’t exist because of irrational criminalization.

  3. - TheInvisibleMan - Friday, Apr 28, 23 @ 12:31 pm:

    –No way should people have to travel very far to adult use marijuana dispensaries–

    If I stand on my roof, I can see a dispensary mentioned in this story from my house. It’s terribly convenient. Yes, I know not everyone lives near one, but man it’s pretty awesome that I do.

    That said, I’ll stand with the workers and haven’t bought anything from there since they went on strike last week. I won’t buy anything there until their union gets what they want.

  4. - Larry Bowa Jr. - Friday, Apr 28, 23 @ 12:36 pm:

    “I’ll stand with the workers and haven’t bought anything from there since they went on strike last week. I won’t buy anything there until their union gets what they want.”

    Same. Pretty sure the entire ownership group of Rise was born on top of a pile of money in the first place. They can afford to share with their workers.

  5. - Donnie Elgin - Friday, Apr 28, 23 @ 12:57 pm:

    ” Illinois state senator who says the workers deserve a share of the more than $ 1 billion in pot profits they are helping to produce”

    This is not stated correctly; the 1 billion is not profit. They are confusing revenues and income. Green Thumb Industries Inc symbol GTBIF, the owner of Rise, did have Revenues of over 1 Billion, but after expenses were factored in they reported a Net income of 11.9 Millon.

  6. - TheInvisibleMan - Friday, Apr 28, 23 @ 1:35 pm:

    –but after expenses were factored in–

    And a HUGE part of those expenses are the double taxation they and all cannabis companies are paying because of the continued Schedule I classification of cannabis at the federal level.

    Rachel knows exactly what she is doing here.

  7. - Astronax - Friday, Apr 28, 23 @ 2:12 pm:

    -Rachel knows exactly what she is doing here-

    You sure? Walsh’s team at least caught that it was $1 Billion in revenue with a 14% profit increase. Which took me about fifteen seconds reading the actual article to confirm.

    The point of double taxation is valid, but actually explaining issues correctly probably would make solving some problems easier.

    Unless we are saying that misrepresentation is knowing what you are doing. Then sure, valid tactic to rally support around a cause.

  8. - Dance Band on the Titanic - Friday, Apr 28, 23 @ 2:27 pm:

    Scabby’s red eyes seem appropriate for this post.

  9. - Back to the Future - Friday, Apr 28, 23 @ 3:03 pm:

    Appreciate the pot folks wanting to get raises, health insurance and pension benefits, but how much should someone earn in terms of benefits and salary to stick dope in a bag?

  10. - Dotnonymous - Friday, Apr 28, 23 @ 3:15 pm:

    - how much should someone earn in terms of benefits and salary to stick dope in a bag? -

    How much does your Pharmacist make?

  11. - bearsfan - Friday, Apr 28, 23 @ 3:28 pm:

    Haven’t crossed the line here in Joliet or for that matter at any RISE since this BS began. These workers deserve every penny they are asking for as they are knowledgeable on the product, usage guidance, etc. as well as just being wonderful humans that are compassionate.

    Don’t be fooled as RISE has lowered their prices at these sites to bring traffic in….

    Solidarity Forever and lets send Back to the Future to his Delorean to knock people down for demanding respect for labor…thanks Doc Brown take that mentality to another previous decade

  12. - TheInvisibleMan - Friday, Apr 28, 23 @ 3:49 pm:

    –You sure?–

    I’m not her, so I can’t speak for her. But I’ve seen how she works and every single time it has always been with a big picture perspective. Because of that track record, when I see her involved in something, I automatically assume she knows exactly what she is doing.

    She supports labor without a doubt. But she also knows that the best way to get traction on the larger issues, is to put pressure on the companies.

    The company can give raises and still come out ahead, if the company starts to call for more pressure for federal scheduling changes. Changes which can be done administratively instead of legislatively.

    She often has a win-win perspective on finding solutions to larger issues.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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