Posted on: January 13, 2021 Posted by: admin Comments: 0

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Senate advanced bills focused on improving social equity in the state’s cannabis licensing process and another that could end cash bail early Wednesday, hours before new members are sworn in.

In a session that went well into the early morning, the Senate passed a follow up to legislation from 2019 aimed at making the social equity commitment in the state’s cannabis licensing program better.

The bill creates two systems for the licensing lottery — tiered and qualified — to determine who might receive a dispensary license. The legislation would also create a new lottery for 75 additional adult-use cannabis dispensary licenses for those in the first round who scored high but didn’t receive one of the first 75 licenses.

“The main goal here is to get more licenses out the door and into the hands of socially equitable applicants,” said Sen. Cristina Castro, D-Elgin. “This plan adds more validity to Illinois’ already strong claim to being the industry leader in cannabis legalization that other states can seek to model their programs after.”

Having passed the Senate, the bill will return to the House for a concurrence vote.

The state’s upper legislative chamber advanced three pieces of the Black Caucus’ agenda: a sweeping criminal justice proposal, measures focused on economic equity, and another on health and human services.

The criminal justice legislation would end cash bail and require the use of body cameras statewide by 2025. That measure, which leaders in law