ICCA Litigation Update
The ICCA has continued to pressure the State of Illinois and its Department of Agriculture to comply with their statutory obligations to issue Craft Grower, Infuser and Transporter licenses as required by the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (CRTA). To accomplish this, on October 13, 2020, the ICCA filed suit in the Circuit Court of Cook County Illinois, ICCA v. The State of Illinois, Governor J.B. Pritzker, the Illinois Department of Agriculture and its director, Jerry Costello II, Case No. 2020 CH 06247. The judge assigned to hear the case is the Honorable Allen P. Walker.
The goal of this suit is twofold:
First, to require the State of Illinois and other Defendants to expeditiously issue licenses as required by the CRTA
Second, to address the issues faced by, and prevent further damage to applicants because of the Defendants delay and failure to meet their statutory obligations.
The ICCA is not taking the position that the Governor’s actions relating to the pandemic are unlawful or without basis. Instead, we are focusing on the specific order by the Governor, Executive Order 2020-45 and its effect on license applicants. The ICCA is asserting that Governor Pritzker exceeded his authority when he suspended the State’s obligation to issue licenses. The rationale for this assertion is:
The Governor did not comply with the Illinois Emergency Management Association Act when he ordered the license issuance date suspended because he did not comply with Section 7(1) of the IEMA and demonstrate that compliance by the State with the deadline hindered its ability to address the pandemic. The Association does not believe such a connection exists.
The Illinois General Assembly, in adopting the CRTA, provided a specific deadline for the State to act. The Governor’s order to indefinitely suspend the deadline counters the State Assembly’s clear intent to have a specific deadline for State action.
The second goal of the lawsuit by the ICCA to address issues members are experiencing will be largely impacted by what happens with the Court’s decision regarding the first goal. If the Court orders immediate compliance by the State, the relief portion of our claim may largely go away. If the Court puts off its decision, the need to order relief moves to the forefront. We will know more next week after the Court’s hearing.
At this point, the State has defended the ICCA’s claims on the basis that it believes Governor Pritzker was legally authorized to indefinitely suspend the State’s statutory obligation to issue licenses on or by July 1, 2020.
Thus far, the ICCA has been successful in expediting the Court’s hearing of the ICCA’s request to force the State’s compliance. This hearing on this portion of the ICCA’s complaint is currently set for November 24, 2020 at 2.30 p.m via a public Zoom call. We encourage members to observe the hearing and we will share the link as soon as it is available. We believe a strong showing of support and interest by our membership and applicants at large will impress upon the Judge the importance of his decision and its impact on their businesses, employees and lives going forward.
As always, our attorneys advise that we should make a disclaimer regarding the nature of the ICCA legal action. Keep in mind that the legal action taken by the Association is general in nature and only affects the membership as a whole. The Association is not seeking any monetary damages on behalf of its members. The ICCA is not representing any particular member’s interests and will take no action which will bind or specifically benefit any member. If a member or nonmember applicant has rights or remedies which may entitle them to a claim to protect their rights, interests or for damages, those remain with that member or nonmember applicant to enforce as they deem necessary. No action is being taken by the ICCA to protect or enforce those specific member rights.
As an Association, we welcome your input, suggestions and concerns. For those who are not members of the ICCA, please consider joining to help protect the interests of those who do not have deep pockets, political ties and influence. Working together with our shared resources and talents benefits us all. Should you have any specific questions or insights regarding this case, membership, or anything else, please reach out to us at email@example.com.