In Illinois, 75 new adult use dispensary licenses were scheduled to be awarded on May 1, 2020. But, because of COVID-19, those licenses have been delayed by Governor Pritzker’s Executive Order 2020-34 for the duration of the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamations or until the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation announces a new date.

Recently, the IDFPR offered relief to applicants that intended to qualify as a Social Equity Applicant by hiring a certain number of qualifying employees. One way to qualify as a Social Equity Applicant in Illinois is to hire a minimum of 10 full-time employees at the time of application, with at least 51% of those employees either (i) currently residing in a Disproportionately Impacted Area or (ii) having been arrested for, convicted of, or adjudicated delinquent for any offense that is eligible for expungement under the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act or a member of an impacted family.

The licensing delay causes additional problems for these applicants because the individuals must be full-time employees and must have been full-time employees at the time the applications were submitted, which were due on or before January 2, 2020. Due to the severe economic conditions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, these applicants can now submit an Attestation form to the IDFPR and will no longer be required (for now) to maintain all employees that help satisfy the social equity criterion throughout the duration of the application scoring period. If the applicant does eventually receive a dispensary license, the applicant will be required to, within 60 days of receiving the license, employ the required number of individuals with the required status to meet the statutory qualifications of a Social Equity Applicant.