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Governor Hesitant to Extend Medical Marijuana Program

Posted on in Drug Offenses

medical marijuana, Illinois law, Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyerA few months ago, a post on this blog discussed a bill that had been sent to Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner that would have extended the state’s medical marijuana program. At the time, the governor had given no indication as to which way he would decide, but in the weeks and months since, his decision has left proponents of measure unsatisfied.

Hopeful Progress

Despite taking effect in January of 2014, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act still has yet to provide a single patient with legally grown and distributed medical marijuana. It has now been nearly two years and only the registration process is fully underway. In the last few weeks, cultivation centers have announced that harvesting of the first legal crops has begun, and that medical marijuana products should be reaching dispensary shelves soon. Meanwhile, some 3,000 qualified, registered patients continue to wait.

Proposed Extension

Earlier in the year, Skokie Democratic Representative Lou Lang proposed a bill that would restore the pilot program to its original four-year duration. He, along with supporters of the proposal, believed that the four years should not begin until production and sales were underway, allowing the state to fully examine the effects of legalizing medical marijuana. At the time, more that quarter of the law’s intended length had expired with little or no observable results, and the halfway point is rapidly approaching.

Amendatory Veto

In August, approximately three months after the bill landed on his desk, Governor Rauner agreed to extend the program, but not by as much as Rep. Lang had hoped. Instead of resetting the four-year clock, by approving an extension of two or more years, the Republican governor offered four additional months. In his opinion, the program should be extended, but only to “account for the delay in the final months of the prior administration.” The amended bill now awaits approval by the House and Senate.

Since his amendatory veto, Governor Rauner has agreed to negotiate further with Rep. Lang “in an effort to find common ground” on the subject. Lang, of course, still believes that medical marijuana program should be permitted to run its full intended length and the governor’s office has provided no details about its goals for the negotiation.

Marijuana Charges

If you are facing criminal prosecution under the state’s current law regarding possession or distribution of marijuana, you need an attorney who will fight to protect your rights. Contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Rolling Meadows today at the Law Offices of Matthew R. Gebhardt, P.C. We offer a free, confidential consultation so that you can ask questions and get the answers you need.

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