Rauner Objects to Illinois Medical Marijuana Bill

Republican gubernatorial candidate says he wouldn't have signed bill, believes process is corrupt

Bruce Rauner is not a fan of Illinois' new medical marijuana law. The Republican gubernatorial candidate says he would have vetoed the legislation if he had the opportunity.

The state is taking applications for 22 cultivation licenses this week, but Rauner believes it's a money grab.

"Millions of dollars in state-licensed businesses are up for grabs and Pat Quinn wants to keep taxpayers in the dark," Rauner said.

But one of the bill's sponsors, state Rep. Lou Lang, says the applicant names will be released and insists the state will "choose applicants that have no regard for who you are, who you know, how much money you have, what campaign donations you made and what relationships you may have in the world.

"The reason that the bill says what it says about disclosing this information is to keep corruption out, not lock corruption in," Lang said.

Quinn's former chief of staff, Jack Lavin, is now a lobbyist representing one of the applicants.

"Something stinks, and it's not the marijuana. This process is so overtly corrupt, so indefensible, it would make Rod Blagojevich blush," Rauner said.

"We could create a process that's open, transparent, and we could have an auction process where companies could bid for a defined period of time."

But Lang calls Rauner's stance hypocritical.

"I think it's hypocrisy for Mr. Rauner, who won't show us his tax returns. For him to come and pontificate is beyond hypocritical," Lang said.

Quinn spokesman Grant Klinzman told the Associated Press that the law keeps applicants' identity confidential so the state officials who award the permits won't be influenced by political connections.

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