In a twist straight from the likes of The Grinch that Stole Christmas, as many of us were tucking in our youngest with wishes of sweet dreams on Christmas Eve, Judge Allen Walker dropped down through the chimney and left a pile of coal under the tree!
On the evening of December 24th, Judge Walker denied ICCA’s motion for a Writ of Mandamus to compel the issuance of the craft licenses. Judge Walker’s ruling focused entirely on the most recent December 11th Executive Order (2020-74) issued by Governor Pritzker which attempted to fix the errors in his original Executive Order from late June. While we believe that this new Executive Order did not satisfy the necessary conditions to suspend the deadline imposed by the CRTA because it did not state how issuing the licenses would hinder the Governor’s ability to deal with the pandemic, Judge Walker said that connection could be implied.
We are shocked by this decision. Judge Walker promised a prompt ruling back in November and then took over a month to deliver it, long enough for Governor Pritzker to apparently cover his tracks sufficiently to allow the Judge to rule in his favor. The Court informed us on December 17th that a ruling would be given by the end of day on December 23rd. Two days later, on December 19th, the State filed its request for the Court to consider the new Executive Order, which ended up being the basis for Judge Walker’s decision. We are concerned with the timing of these events, especially since Judge Walker ruled that the original EO-45 was, in fact, insufficient.
We are also amazed that the Judge allowed such a critical element of the case to be impliedly satisfied.
Finally, we are stunned that the Judge ignored the continuing harm that the State is inflicting on each applicant by delaying these decisions. Even with the new December 11th Executive Order, the Judge could have granted our motion based on the harm being caused. His order mentions that, but fails to discuss it any further.
We are discussing and weighing our options at this time. We cannot be any more disappointed to be bringing you this bad news on this holiday weekend, but we promised to keep you informed. Governor Prizktzer and his administration continue to be unwilling to release licenses or have the simple decency to communicate with applicants, holding this community captive and inflicting ongoing suffering. We will not give up in our fight for this important cannabis community.
We wish you the very best for the rest of this holiday season and for a very happy and healthy New Year.