A day after outgoing governor Pat Quinn tossed the medical marijuana hot potato to his successor Bruce Rauner, the new governor gave only the vaguest description of how he plans to proceed with the program.
After vowing to complete the licensing process for growers and sellers by year’s end, the Quinn administration failed to issue any licenses, leaving the job to Rauner, who publicly ridiculed the medical marijuana program during the campaign.
“I’m concerned about the process,” Rauner said today during a signing ceremony in Springfield. “I don’t think it’s been run well.”
“I expressed my concern during the campaign, that it looked like some folks had left the administration,” he said. “They were playing lobbying roles, they were working with some of their friends to get some of these contracts.”
While the state has never publicized the list of applicants, it has been revealed that Quinn’s former chief of staff, Jack Lavin, was working with at least one applicant, a would-be grower and dispensary from downstate Effingham.
“My understanding is that governor Quinn decided to not go ahead and approve some of the pending licenses that have been applied for,” Rauner said. “What we need to do is get immersed in the process, and learn exactly the status. How’s it been managed? How’s it been run? And look whether we need to change anything that’s occurred.”
In the meantime, the bill’s author, State Representative Louis Lang, suggested today that the delays were unacceptable.
“This single failure may doom the medical cannabis program,” the Skoke democrat said of Quinn’s failure to act. “This single failure said to all of those folks who made applications to be cultivators or dispensary owners, that ‘We took your $5 million, but we’ll get to you when you feel like it.”
Rauner gave no indication of a timetable.
“I want to enforce the laws of the state,” he said. “And that particular law is on the books. I want to make sure that it’s managed properly.”