SPRINGFIELD — Lotteries will be held July 29, Aug. 5 and Aug. 19 to choose who will get the next 185 licenses to operate recreational marijuana dispensaries in Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Thursday.

The Democratic governor also signed a bill into law designed to give minority applicants a better chance of receiving a license through the August lotteries.

And Pritzker announced that more than 200 people across the state will be offered licenses to open cannabis “craft grow” cultivation centers or operate specialty infusing and transportation businesses in the state’s expanding legal marijuana industry.

House Bill 1443 will make the first major changes to the 2019 law that legalized recreational use of marijuana for customers 21 and older and set in motion legal cannabis cultivation centers and dispensaries across Illinois.

Bill sponsor state Rep. LaShawn Ford, D-Chicago, said the new law will reduce complaints from minority entrepreneurs who want to break into the almost all-white industry.

The legislation, he said, also is expected to result in the withdrawal of lawsuits over the way applications for the 75 licenses to be awarded in the delayed first lottery were evaluated by the state.

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