|Republican Illinois gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner, who would have vetoed the Illinois medical marijuana laws.|
Illinois gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner wouldn’t have allowed medical pot in Illinois had he been governor over this past term. Since he’s not governor, though it’s easy for him to sit back and play armchair quarterback when it comes to medical cannabis and criticize the current administration for following through with the will of the people and their elected officials.
But medical marijuana is legal, and now Rauner says he would milk it for all he can. His latest idea? Give out grow and dispensary licenses to the highest bidders, effectively cutting out small business owners and giving preferential treatment not to those who care about patients and medicine, but those who purely see dollar signs in the new industry.
He says the state should make money off of this process to give Illinois taxpayers a “break.” His plan would also weed out corruption that he says is currently running rampant in the selection process.
“Thanks to [current Illinois Gov.]Pat Quinn’s secret, insider process, there are a lot of questions left unanswered,” Rauner said at a press conference yesterday. “But there is something we know for sure: Something stinks, and it’s not the marijuana.”
Illinois officials are currently reviewing applications to fill 21 grow licenses and 60 dispensary licenses. Applications are being accepted until next Monday. The names of applications is not public record, nor will the names of those rejected – the idea being that the process is blind so that politics don’t come into play, according to state Rep. Lou Lang, who sponsored the bill.
Lang called Rauner “heartless” and pointed out that vetoing the bill would have meant vetoing an improved quality of life for thousands of people in his state.
“The whole notion that Mr. Rauner would veto the bill, the notion that it would go to the highest bidder, is just callous, and flies in the face of logic,” Lang told the Sun-Times. “It’s pretty insulting to all the legislators who voted for it, it’s insulting to all the patients.”
Rauner may be hot air for now, but as the Sun-Times points out, the Illinois medical cannabis program is technically a pilot and lawmakers will again have to approve the laws permanently in 2017.
With an anti-cannabis, anti-patient candidate like Rauner in office, that might be a hard sell.