Nearly two years after former Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed the “Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act” that would allow the sale and possession of medical marijuana, and just two months before the state reportedly plans on allowing dispensaries to open, the Illinois Department of Agriculture has finally revealed who, exactly, it will allow to grow the plants. In response to an Associated Press public records request, the state caved after initially withholding the information for no stated reason:
The Illinois Department of Agriculture released the business names of seven authorized growers to The Associated Press on Thursday in response to a public records request. The department initially withheld the company names without giving a reason.
The centers with approval to grow are: PharmaCann in Dwight, GTI in Rock Island, Ace in Delavan, Nature’s Grace and Wellness in Vermont, In Grown Farms in Freeport, Ataraxia in Albion and Ace in Barry.
As the AP notes, these businesses are spread across the Illinois map, with locations close to the state’s northern Wisconsin border and near Kentucky to the south. Revolution Enterprises, which owns the Barry, IL grow center, announced today that their center is “up and running,” and could eventually employ as many as 70 people.
The repeatedly delayed implementation of the program has caused a lot of confusion and frustration in Illinois, where thousands have already gone through a demanding application process that requires fingerprinting, background checks, and medical certifications that physicians are reportedly reluctant to provide patients. Most observers, however, now seem optimistic that marijuana sales will finally begin this fall.
For those who don’t qualify for the medical program (or can’t afford its $100 fee or make it to one of the fingerprinting facilities), there is still hope on the horizon as Illinois looks set to finalize a law that will decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana, even for those without a medical license.