News Local/State

Documents: Quinn Had Marijuana Recommendations, Didn’t Act

Clone plants at a medical marijuana facility in Oakland, California.

This Feb. 1, 2011 file photo shows medical marijuana clone plants at a medical marijuana dispensary in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

Newly released documents show former Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn received recommendations on which businesses should receive lucrative medical marijuana licenses but did not act on them before leaving office.

Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration released the material to The Associated Press and other news organizations in response to Freedom of Information Act requests.

The Illinois medical marijuana program scored and recommended 18 businesses to grow medical marijuana and 56 retailers to sell it in the weeks before Quinn left office.

A Rauner spokesman says aides will review the evaluation process and forward their findings to the attorney general.

Quinn's administration had said he would issue the licenses by the end of last year.

The documents appear to show the agencies made recommendations to Quinn around Dec. 25. 

A Quinn spokesperson told the Chicago Sun-Times Sunday in a statement that the agencies made "substantial progress'' but Quinn turned the job over to Rauner "for proper review.''

Owners of businesses on Quinn's short list for medical marijuana cultivation centers and dispensaries say the process was fair and should proceed.
Such holdups have produced lawsuits in other states. Illinois cultivators want to avoid legal action.
Bradley Vallerius represents ICC Holdings, which was in line for up to two permits. He says Rauner should approve licenses for high scorers such as ICC.
Ben Kovler of GTI Holdings, another high scorer, says "the best applicants'' should be OK'd to help patients and the economy.
Matthew Hortenstine represents dispensary applicant HealthCentral. He says Rauner needs to "follow through.''

According to documents in the Sun-Times, the one business recommended to grow medical marijuana in State Police District 10 (which includes Champaign County) is Shelby County Community Services based in Shelbyville. 

Those document show the top ranking retailers in the district were Nu Med RX, LLC, and Phoenix Farms of Illinois, LLC.