CHICAGO (WLS) -- Governor JB Pritzker marked a milestone Wednesday in cannabis industry with the opening of the first "social equity" dispensary in the state. But he also opened the door to the possibility of cannabis delivery.
Pritzker was not advocating for Illinois to join other states who allow for consumers to order online and have their weed delivered like a pizza, but today he said he supports the idea.
Pritzker toured Ivy Hall Wednesday morning, the Bucktown dispensary which became the first social equity facility in the state to open a few weeks ago. The program is designed to guarantee minority access to the lucrative cannabis business now moving forward after a number of fits and starts.
"I am living proof of Illinois making good on its promise to carve out a more equitable cannabis landscape for generations to come," said Nigel Dandridge, co-owner of Ivy Hall Dispensary.
Pritzker said all 192 licenses have now been issued and many of the hurdles have been cleared which should allow many more social equity licensees to open their facilities in the months ahead.
"Much of the challenge has been the court system and the amount of time it's taken to get through the court system, people suing because they didn't get a winner in the lottery for a license," Pritzker said.
But for dispensary owners and consumers of cannabis, Pritzker delivered some encouraging news, opening the door to marijuana delivery, something other states are already doing.
"At first blush, without the data in front of me, I think that as long as it is regulated, as long as we make sure that the person who is ordering it gets it, and that they're legally allowed to, then it would seem to me like the same as somebody coming into a store," Pritzker said.
"I think it's a natural evolution of where cannabis is in Illinois right now," said Jason Erkes, spokesman for Sunnyside Dispensaries. "The whole goal of the program is to make it accessible and these days you can order just about everything from the palm of your hand, and cannabis should be no exception."
As for social equity licenses, the spokesman for the Canna Alliance says new state directives did away with frustrating regulations that had limited the sources of capital needed to open dispensaries.
"They told us, 'get somebody who's in the business,'" said Ricky Hendon, Canna Alliance spokesman. "Well, the only people who were in the business was white men, so who else you going to go to raise money and get the expertise but white men."
Hendon said all that has now been cleared up, along with some other regulations on facility size for the craft growers, helping the industry move forward more in the way it was intended to on the social equity front.