Illinois MMJ Timeline in Question

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The launch of Illinois’ medical marijuana industry may be delayed even longer.

Outgoing Gov. Pat Quinn has decided to refrain from signing off on business licenses before he leaves office, according to The Chicago Sun-Times. Instead, he will pass that responsibility on to incoming Gov. Bruce Rauner, an outspoken critic of the state’s MMJ program.

Quinn will also tighten rules on the program and sign into law new restrictive powers for the Department of Agriculture. Under the department’s newfound powers, it will be able to suspend and/or revoke cannabis growers’ licenses, the Sun-Times reported.

Rauner, meanwhile, has suggested that the licensing process is corrupt, and he also proposed auctioning off the state’s permits for 60 dispensaries and 21 cultivation centers.

NBC reported that Quinn’s decision will “almost surely lead to further delays” due to Rauner’s opposition to the program, leaving hopeful MMJ entrepreneurs in a cloud of uncertainty.

The licensing process hit a snag late last year when applicants for dispensary and cultivation licenses learned recently that they wouldn’t find out by the beginning of January whether they had been approved for a business permit.