|Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn.|
After months of waiting for their governor to sign laws into place, Illinois may finally have legalized medical marijuana by next week.
Or then again, they might not. Gov. Pat Quinn isn’t exactly saying which way he’s leaning at this point — only that something will happen next week.
According to the (Illinois) News-Gazette, Quinn told reporters that he was going to make a “very important” decision with regards to the bill, but stopped short of saying he would actually sign it into law. The paper reports that Quinn previously met with a war veteran using medical cannabis and the governor said it left him “open minded” about medical cannabis in general.
The bill was approved in May and creates a four-year pilot program whereby doctors could recommend cannabis to patients with certain debilitating conditions including cancer, HIV and multiple sclerosis. Cannabis would be grown at 22 state-regulated facilities, with a total of one dispensary allowed in each of Illinois’s 59 senate districts.
Patients would be able to possess up to 2.5 ounces renewable every two weeks.
The laws would take effect January 1, 2014 if Quinn were to sign the bill, but it would likely be at least a year before the program got underway.
Meanwhile, cities around Illinois are preparing for what is likely going to be a booming new industry. They aren’t allowed to ban dispensaries, but several towns have zoned dispensaries into oblivion. Others are embracing what they see as a boon to local tax coffers.
Of course, all of that is dependent on one man’s signature — and he’s sure taken his sweet-ass time to get around to it.