First Round of Medical Marijuana Licenses Issued in Illinois

While the fate of medical marijuana licenses in Illinois was questionable amid a new governor taking office, Governor Bruce Rauner made a surprising move and awarded dozens of licenses on Monday. Letters were sent out to 18 cultivation centers and 52 retail shops confirming that they have been selected to receive the licenses. Others who have spent thousands of dollars on the application process were disappointed to find out they were not selected.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner conducted an internal review that revealed flaws in the medical marijuana license award process under former Governor Pat Quinn. In a statement made by John Barclay, Rauner’s general counsel, he said that Quinn’s process had created “a risk of substantial and costly litigation” to the state. While Quinn said that applications were subjected to a blind review process, Governor Rauner’s review revealed that state agencies conducted a “character and fitness review” subsequent to the blind scoring.

Still under review are two applications from HealthCentral LLC, an application from strip club owner Perry Mandera, and a company part-owned by Nicholas Vita, a former Goldman Sachs executive who faced lawsuits in other states for opening medical marijuana businesses.

While it is unclear how long it will be before patients will be able to buy medical marijuana, crops could begin to be harvested as soon as this year.

Rauner announces who can grow and sell medical marijuana in Illinois, www.chicago.suntimes.com, February 2, 2015
Rauner issues medical marijuana licenses after review, www.thetelegraph.com, February 2, 2015

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