The Illinois medical marijuana program is moving forward, and soon the first seeds will be in the ground. Last week, Governor Bruce Rauner’s office announced the licensees who will be permitted to grow and sell medical cannabis across the state.
The news was a relief for many entrepreneurs who have been champing at the bit for months to learn whether they would be allowed to proceed with construction plans, while patients were pleased to learn that access to safe and effective medicine is right around the corner.
There has been a level of anxiety surrounding the program ever since Governor Pat Quinn left office without issuing medical marijuana licenses. The fear was that Rauner would further sandbag the program’s progress by choosing to sit on the applications. Yet, just weeks after his administration settled in, approval letters are being sent to winning applicants.
On February 2, Governor Rauner’s legal counsel, Jason Barclay, revealed the winners of 18 cultivation and 52 dispensary licenses. Many of the applicants who were not approved were angered by the decision, especially since the tens of thousands of dollars it took to apply are non-refundable.
However, those applicants will soon learn the reasons behind their exclusion, and will be permitted to file an appeal. “Any applicant that was recommended for disqualification will be fully informed of the basis for that decision (and) given an opportunity to respond,” Barclay said in a statement.
The list of approved applicants indicates that several candidates are still under review. In the meantime, confirmed winners can proceed by putting up the required bond and paying the license fees. If all goes smoothly, patients will be purchasing medical marijuana from their neighborhood dispensaries towards the end of summer.