Illinois Considers Ethical Implications of Cannabis License Lottery

Illinois social justice advocates and cannabis applicants alike are speaking up, claiming that the lottery system used to determine cannabis license holders in the state does not give fair opportunities to marginalized groups looking for a seat at the table. 

As it stands now, the lottery system would determine 75 winners at random for new licenses this year. Currently, state law gives additional points on applications from groups that qualify as social equity applicants, especially if they live in an area disproportionately affected by cannabis laws in the past or have past convictions. Those opposed to the lottery system claim it is not in line with this state law, as it does not take into account those applicants, and because so many equity applicants were already filtered out of the system. 

“We are under the weather from this oppressive system, this rigged system, in which the state representatives and the state senators were lied to,” former state Sen. Rickey Hendon, D-5th, said, claiming he feels this system will help keep people of color and other minorities out of the cannabis industry and contribute to the disparities that currently exist. 

Part of the frustration stems from the fact that, while more

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