Gov. Rauner Finishes Quinn’s Job and Awards Cannabis Business Licenses!
After a long and very frustrating timeline, Illinois has finally kept its promise to give suffering people access to medicinal cannabis.
Pat Quinn originally signed the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act in August of 2013, and since then, it has been a roller coaster of excitement, anticipation and at times, hopelessness.
January 1, 2014– The law was officially enacted and three government agencies became in charge of writing the rules- The Department of Agriculture for cultivation centers, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation for dispensaries and the Department of Public Health for patients, caregivers and physicians.
April 14, 2014– The proposed rules for implementation of the law were finally published. At that point it became a waiting game for patients who were eager to register and for businesses that were gearing up to apply for the limited number of licenses available to grow or sell cannabis.
August 8, 2014– The Department of Public Health releases the application forms for patients and caregivers, along with the physician’s certification form that patients are required to obtain. Draft applications for dispensaries and cultivation centers were also made available that day, and so finally, it seemed that the pilot program was moving forward.
September 2, 2014– Illinois begins accepting cannabis patient applications. The first patients received approval letters by mid September.
September 8, 2014– Illinois begins accepting dispensary and cultivation center applications. The deadline for these applications was September 22 and a total of 369 applications were submitted by hopeful entrepreneurs who paid non refundable application fees ($5,000 for dispensaries and $25,000 for cultivation centers), and invested in locations, lawyers and lobbyists, among other things. In the end, Illinois collected $5 million in application fees alone.
November 4, 2014– Pat Quinn loses the gubernatorial election to republican Bruce Rauner, who openly stated that he would have never signed the medical cannabis bill and that he didn’t agree with the state’s handling of the application process. Patients and cannabis license hopefuls believe that Quinn would choose the winners before exiting the governor’s office in January.
January 12, 2015– Quinn leaves office and Gov. Bruce Rauner gets sworn in without any licenses being awarded. This came as a surprise to his administration who worked tirelessly to push through the licenses in time. This email revealed that Bob Morgan, general counsel to the Illinois Department of Public Health and Quinn appointed cannabis czar, was completely caught off guard by the former governor’s failure to act.
January 25, 2015– Following a Freedom of Information Act request, the press reveals which companies Quinn’s staff chose to receive the very limited and much sought after licenses to grow and sell cannabis. Curiously, a few of the top scoring companies appeared to be disqualified or put on hold without any explanation. Many saw this as a last minute move by Quinn to cover up favoritism.
January 30, 2015– Governor Rauner tells press that Pat Quinn meddled in the application scoring process and that he may turn the process over to the Attorney General’s office. At this point, the program seemed to be on indefinite hold for patients, advocates and entrepreneurs who were anxiously awaiting the release of those licenses.
February 2, 2015– Governor Rauner issues 53 dispensary licenses and 18 cultivation center licenses unexpectedly and is giving the chosen few 48 hours to accept. Finally, the agonizing delays are over and patients can rejoice knowing that medical cannabis in Illinois will soon become a reality.
And the winners are…
The Healing Clinic was the first to announce Rauner’s bold and exciting move via radio this morning. Here is a link to our interview with Vocalo Radio: https://soundcloud.com/vocalo/
We always believed in staying positive and will continue to work hard for cannabis patients in Illinois. Needless to say, we are very pleased with the recent turn of events and look forward to staying on the forefront of medical cannabis in Illinois.
We thank everyone who has continued to support us and believe in our efforts.