Illinois medical marijuana program delayed !!!!

CHICAGO (AP) – Without explanation, Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration has conceded it missed its end-of-the-year target for deciding which businesses will receive permits to begin the state’s pilot program with medical marijuana. Some observers think the decision could come in a matter of days.

The lag will force cultivation center owners to break ground during the coldest winter months, and, ultimately, delay harvest of the first cannabis crop. Patients who’ve paid $100 for marijuana registry cards will have to wait, perhaps until summer or beyond, before they can legally use the drug. Some patients say they’ll continue to use pot they’ve obtained on the black market.

“I hate to have to do anything illegal,” said Marla Levi, 51, of Buffalo Grove, who uses marijuana for multiple sclerosis symptoms and has been approved as a patient in the new program. “I believe it’s going to happen. In the meantime, I get it how I have to get it.”

The agency leading the program offered no explanation for the setback.

“We are strongly committed to bringing relief to thousands of people across the state and ensuring Illinois is the national model for implementing medical cannabis,” Illinois Department of Public Health spokeswoman Melaney Arnold said in an email. “We are working hard to make sure this is done right.”

Arnold said the state is “conducting a comprehensive review of every cultivation center and dispensary applicant to ensure that only the most qualified are approved for this important program. We will announce the recipients when this important review is finished.”

A Skokie Democrat who sponsored the state’s medical marijuana legislation predicted permits will be awarded before Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner’s inauguration on Jan. 12.

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