Medical Marijuana Applicants Come With Baggage

ILLINOIS:  As Illinois prepares to authorize its first medical marijuana businesses, applicants seeking the potentially lucrative licenses include people with political connections and blemished backgrounds.

A lobbyist for one applicant is the former chief of staff for Gov. Pat Quinn. Owners of two other proposed companies have criminal convictions. Another applicant is tied to a corporate shell known for hiding assets and owners.

And that’s only a sampling discovered by the Tribune.

Under the new state law that legalized medical marijuana, the process for obtaining the right to sell the drug in Illinois has been cloaked in secrecy. The state has not revealed the names of businesses that have applied for licenses — let alone the people behind those businesses. Officials said that, to protect the process from clout influence, the panel scoring the applications won’t know who’s behind them. But the state has also not revealed the names of the panelists and won’t say whether it will disclose the scores of those who win licenses.


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