Judge rules against pot grower applicants seeking licenses

CHICAGO (AP) — An effort by the Illinois Craft Cannabis Association to force Gov. J.B. Pritzker to award grower licenses was rebuffed by a Cook County judge.

By law, 40 grower licenses were to be issued by July 1, but Pritzker hasn’t issued them. He initially cited the COVID-19 pandemic for delays in reviewing applications.

In a ruling issued on Christmas Eve, Judge Allen Walker said the governor’s initial reason for delaying the licenses was insufficient.

But Walker also wrote Pritzker has since clarified that the delay was necessary because the Illinois Department of Agriculture is now concentrating on oversight of meat and livestock facilities and the food supply chain due to the pandemic.

Craft grower association spokesman Paul Magelli says the group is considering an appeal.