Illinois cannabis dispensary lotteries set to kick off Thursday after lengthy delays – Chicago Sun-Times

After a year of turmoil, Illinois is finally on the verge of dishing out precious new permits to operate recreational pot shops.

The first of three lotteries for 185 total dispensary licenses is set for Thursday, with the others scheduled next month. On Wednesday, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation is expected to announce the finalists for the first lottery, which will determine the winners of 55 licenses.

The Illinois Lottery is conducting all the drawings, but they won’t play out like the traditional televised segments with balls bouncing around a tumbler. Instead, an automated computer system will identify random numbers previously assigned to applicants.

After a series of audits, the results will be sent to the IDFPR, which will match the winning numbers with the corresponding applicants and make the results public later in the day.

If all goes as planned — which has largely not happened with the licensing process so far — Thursday’s lottery will mark the beginning of the end of a lengthy imbroglio that has marred Pritzker’s first term in office.

After campaigning to lift Illinois’ prohibition on recreational pot, he signed the legalization law to great fanfare, effectively giving

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