Illinois cannabis MSOs don’t want to support social equity

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Some cannabis companies are concerned over efforts in Illinois to include social equity charters

It appears that a greater level of competition in the Illinois cannabis industry is not being embraced by a large number of multi-state operators (MSOs), which are part of the state’s largest cannabis trade association. Social equity legislation was introduced some time ago that seeks to allow social equity-owned artisanal growers to increase the size of their canopy. However, these established operators in The Prairie State are resisting such a proposal.

Through this bill, artisanal growers would have the opportunity to nearly triple the size of their footprint from 5,000 square feet to 14,000 square feet. Clearly, the larger the canopy size, the greater the amount of production. As a result, the level of competition in the Illinois market would be increased, but the MSOs don’t want that to happen.

A board meeting of the Illinois Cannabis Business Association was held last week. It was officially made clear that there is opposition to SB 3105. This association is dominated by large national MSOs such as PharmaCann, Cresco Labs, and Illinois-based Verano Holdings.

Through a written statement, the trade association indicated that the state “should pause to properly assess where our industry stands rather than attempt to make incremental changes to an evolving industry.”

Still, the association, while seeming a bit contradictory, says it will continue to support diversity and inclusion in the industry. Amber Littlejohn, executive director of the Minority Cannabis Business Association, is clear that such a statement makes little sense. “You can’t be pro-equity,” she said, and also be “pushing back” on measures designed to help minority-owned businesses succeed.

For his part, Eric Ice-Gipson, owner of artisanal cannabis grower 1937 Group, said he is stunned and disappointed by the position the trade organization has taken.