Irina Dashevsky, Senior Counsel in Locke Lord’s Chicago office and Co-Chair of the Firm’s Cannabis Industry Group, was quoted by Crain’s Chicago Business on the recent litigation aimed at enjoining the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation (IDFPR) from holding a recreational marijuana license lottery for 21 applicant groups that all have a perfect score. Applicants who didn't qualify for the Iottery have already sued in state and federal courts. Locke Lord filed a suit in downstate Sangamon County against IDFPR on behalf of seven applicants.
Dashevsky recognized the dilemma presented by the lawsuits because a court could order the state to allow additional applicants into the lottery or put the process on hold. "It's a balancing act: There's public interest in getting new entrants into the marketplace, and you don't want the process tied up forever,” she said. “The courts would have to be careful about how they craft an injunction."
Dashevsky also spoke to Law360 regarding the suit, and says the state has given a preference to veterans in the Illinois cannabis industry when there is no rational basis for that preference. The suit claims the benefit awarded to veterans actually undermines the intended benefit awarded to Social Equity Applicants who have actually been harmed and disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs.
"Now we have a 100% veteran-owned monopoly, [when] veterans were never identified as needing a leg up in the industry," Dashevsky told Law360. She continued, "I'm hopeful that this will turn out in a fair way, and I think the fair way is to have more diversity in the lottery."
To read the full Crain’s article, click here and for the Law360 article, click here (subscription may be required).