Illinois marijuana shop finalists include firms backed by ex-top cop Terry Hillard, restaurateur Phil Stefani

A day after state officials announced that just 21 applicants would be included in an coming lottery to determine the winners of the next round of cannabis dispensary licenses, minority lawmakers urged Gov. J.B. Pritzker to delay all new permits over concerns about an applications process that allowed many clouted and seemingly well capitalized businesses to move onto the next phase.

State officials on Thursday were quick to mention that all the qualifying applicants are so-called social equity candidates, who are given a leg-up in the process to bolster minority participation in the overwhelmingly white marijuana industry.

Yet the small pool of remaining applicants includes former Chicago police Supt. Terry Hillard, well known Chicago restaurateur Phil Stefani, Lucky Lincoln Gaming president Jeff Rehberger and existing players in the pot industry. Their status as applicants was first reported by the Grown In newsletter.

In a written statement Friday, members of the Black and Latino caucuses said they “voted for a law that had a framework for the administration to create more Black and Latino cannabis startups than any other state in the country. [Read more at Chicago Sun-Times]