CHICAGO (WLS) -- Cannabis equity advocates and business owners are warning that Illinois' social equity program is "on the verge of collapse."
"I'm waving a flag for Governor Pritzker and Illinois legislators... And who's being hurt? It's us. The very people who this program is meant to help," said Ambrose Jackson, with 1937 Group.
The groups said that while the initial cannabis operators have thrived and grossed over a billion dollars, social equity businesses have languished on the sidelines for three years, losing billions," according to the group.
The groups blame the rules and regulations that are in place.
They also said that most businesses have not begun building out their facilities and are far from becoming operational despite what the state is saying due to the rules and regulations and procedures in place. Which, they added, also hurts the state's tax coffers, municipalities, potential employees and contractors.
Governor Pritzker's office issued a statement that said "The governor looks forward to continuing to work with the General Assembly on streamlining the process and helping social equity applicants enter and thrive in the industry."
Last month, a new wave of cannabis licenses were granted.
Five conditional licenses were issued to applicants selected in lotteries held last summer and 182 licenses have been issued to date. Three more are available through the program.