Illinois MMJ License Challenged

56As the marijuana industry in Illinois cheers for the unexpected awarding of licenses for medical cannabis businesses, certain issues have been spotted among some of the applicants. One awarded license in particular is now contested based on the eligibility of the company that received it.

Shelby County Community Services Inc is a company in southern Illinois that is among those now licensed to cultivate medical marijuana. However, another cultivator, Shiloh Agronomics LLC, is claiming that the awardee is ineligible to operate because it is a not-for-profit enterprise and is thus bound to federal law.

Although marijuana is legal in certain states – in Illinois, its medical form is permitted – the drug is still considered illegal by the federal government.

Shelby County Community Services focuses on developmentally disabled persons, giving them jobs at its plants for plastic bag and plate manufacturing. In addition, it provides counseling to substance abusers.

The organization hopes to provide more jobs through its cultivation site.

Shiloh Agronomics is meanwhile a family farm business whose founders include a former chairman of the county board. The company has lost out on its bid for a cultivation permit.

Shiloh has requested Illinois’s attorney general to revoke the license for Shelby County Community Services. Following this, the requesting company will then pursue the matter in court.

The challenge came just a week after state Governor Bruce Rauner granted cannabis licenses in a surprise move. The Illinois marijuana program allows a maximum of 21 cultivation licenses and 60 dispensary permits; Rauner has so far approved 18 licenses for cultivation and 52 for dispensaries.

But the licensing was done before state police could do full background checks, as they lacked authority to utilize the FBI database. That issue has been resolved and the background checks have been moving forward.

Still, the industry is concerned that this challenge could usher in a surge of objections to the licensing process. The process had previously been left on a lurch with ex-governor Pat Quinn having left office without signing off on it.

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