In a surprise move, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner approved dozens of medical marijuana business licenses on Monday, ending a period of uncertainty over the future of the state’s MMJ program.
Rauner, who has been critical of the program and previously indicated he might delay the entire licensing process, issued 52 of the 60 available dispensary permits and 18 of 21 cultivation center licenses up for grabs, according to a press release from the governor’s office.
Five additional dispensary applications and three cultivation applications are under review. You can view a list of the winners here.
Rauner agreed with some of former Gov. Pat Quinn’s top picks, which were on a shortlist that was released to the press last month. But he substituted some others after a “legal review found problems with Quinn’s scoring process,” according to The Chicago Tribune.
Applicants with the highest scores in each district were granted licenses, so long as they were not disqualified for other reasons. The governor also decided that cultivation applicants can receive up to three permits in different districts, provided they are among the top scorers.
Quinn’s decision to not issue business licenses before he left office in January fueled speculation that Rauner may decide to delay the program indefinitely, and even led multiple investors to back out of MMJ opportunities in Illinois.