After Illinois became the 20th state to legalize medical marijuana, state regulators self-imposed a deadline of approving business licenses by the end of the year. Now that the new year has started, they’ve officially missed that deadline.
Regulators plan on awarding licenses to 21 growing centers and 60 retail shops throughout the state. Even if they were to issue the licenses right now, patients in need of medical marijuana would still have to wait until the spring growing season.
Some are concerned that the licenses might not be issued at all. The legalization of marijuana was approved under the governorship of Pat Quinn. Governor-elect Bruce Rauner, who takes office on January 12, has publicly stated that he would have vetoed Illinois’ medical marijuana law if he were governor at the time.
If the licenses aren’t issued by January 12, there’s a chance they won’t be issued at all. Though it’s unlikely that the new governor will completely halt the process, he probably won’t expedite it either.
Medical marijuana has been legal in Illinois for an entire year. But none of the 600 approved patients have received any because there’s no lawful place to buy it.
As the wait for medical marijuana gets longer and longer, the people who need it continue to suffer. The reason medical marijuana was legalized in the first place was to bring relief to people with chronic diseases. But a year later, it still hasn’t served that purpose.
Anxious Illinois citizens can only hope this doesn’t drag out much longer. In Massachusetts, it’s been two year since the legislation passed and they still don’t have access to medical marijuana. In Colorado, the process took less than seven months.
Attorney Michael Hupy was over 30 years ahead of his time on this matter. He successfully proved in just 3 days of court testimony that marijuana is misclassified as a schedule 1 drug. In the end, all of the charges against his clients, who were caught with 3,300 pounds of marijuana, were dismissed.