It was telling when Gov. Pritzker said on Wednesday that the cannabis social equity licensing process in Illinois is a marathon rather than a sprint. Governor, the people who needed the most and got the least out of this process have been running a marathon their entire lives. They’re tired. Some invested their life’s savings in this and they can’t wait for you to tweak the process down the line. They are counting on you to get it right the first time.

Other comments from administration officials basically blamed those who were not successful of sour grapes. Of course, there will be anger with so many people losing and all…. Wrong! There were scoring mistakes. This is not about sour grapes. Legitimate social equity applicants are inexplicably missing their social equity points with zero recourse. People don’t have faith that the Administration and their scoring vendor, KPMG, did a fair and accurate job.

I am a lobbyist and consultant for the cannabis industry. I do have an ax to grind because I feel compelled to speak out on behalf of the folks I helped with license applications – especially those social equity applicants I worked with for free. Insensitive comments and lame excuses from the Administration are an insult to their hard work and faith in the system.

Of course, the Governor could make this all go away now by coming clean. Release all the information the applicants and the public deserve to see. If all is on the up and up, why not do that? The Pritzker Administration has told us they did a credible job scoring applications, what they haven’t done is shown us. There has been zero transparency. Applicants are having to FOIA their own records, to which they’re entitled. They did pay a hefty application fee.

Time to fix this mess now, Governor. Don’t kick this can (and the fate of hundreds of deserving families and small businesses) down the road!

Author: Mark Peysakhovich

Mark Peysakhovich is an Illinois-based cannabis industry lobbyist, podcast host, and consultant. He can be reached at [email protected]

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