In Illinois, a licensee is a qualified social equity applicant if they have at least 51% ownership and control by one or more individuals who meet at least one of the following criteria:
-Lived in a disproportionately impacted area for 5 of the past 10 years.
-Been arrested or convicted for cannabis-related offenses eligible for expungement.
-Have a parent, child, or spouse with a cannabis-related offense.
Social equity applicants pay reduced license and application fees and receive technical assistance and support from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) on everything from creating a business plan to applying for a license. They also have access to low-interest loans by DCEO for starting and operating a cannabis-related business under the ‘Social Equity Cannabis Loan Program’. These loans will be available to social equity licensees that demonstrate a need for funding and have been adversely impacted by the disparate enforcement of cannabis-related laws.