If there is such a thing as a perfect business plan in adult-use cannabis retail, it involves teams that are majority owned by military veterans—at least that’s the standard in Illinois.
Among the 185 cannabis dispensary licenses recently awarded by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR), 75 were reserved for top-scoring applicants in what was intended to be a competitive licensing process.
KPMG, the global accounting firm that IDFPR bestowed a no-bid contract worth $4.2 million to grade the applications, awarded 21 groups perfects scores. In turn, the 75 licenses reserved for the top-scoring applicants were to be divvied up among those 21 groups. Overall, 937 candidates submitted 4,518 applications seeking those 75 licenses, according to the Chicago Sun Times.
While there was a cap on how many licenses applicants could win, which was 10, there was no cap on how many times applicants could apply. The 21 groups with perfect scores collectively submitted more than 300 applications.
Five of the 250 points necessary to receive a perfect score were reserved for applicants with businesses that were majority owned by military veterans, essentially providing veterans a monopoly over those licenses, said Irina Dashevsky, a partner in the