Illinois Gov.’s Surprise Move: MMJ Licenses Approved

14In an unexpected move, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner granted approval to dozens of medical cannabis business licenses on Monday (February 2). This agreeably ended the period of uncertainty that wrapped the state’s MMJ pilot program.

The governor issued 18 of the 21 cultivation licenses and 52 of the 60 dispensary permits allowable by the program, according to a press release from his office. In addition, five more dispensary applications and three cultivation applications are currently under review.

Rauner had previously been critical of the program and indicated he might delay the licensing process, which was left hanging by his predecessor, former Gov. Pat Quinn.

Quinn however had a shortlist for medical marijuana business licenses, and Rauner agreed on some of the picks. But there were “problems with Quinn’s scoring process”, as a legal review found, so the new governor substituted some others on the list, reported The Chicago Tribune.

The business applicants that garnered the highest scores in their respective districts received their licenses, as long as there was no reason to disqualify them. Rauner also decided that a cultivation applicant may receive a maximum of three permits in different districts, if the applicant is among the top scorer.

Rauner’s approval is a welcome turn of events for Illinois’s marijuana industry. After Quinn left office in January without issuing MMJ business licenses, there was speculation that Rauner would indefinitely delay the program. This caused concern among the state’s medical marijuana entrepreneurs, even leading some investors to back out of MMJ businesses.

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