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Rauner, Lang to negotiate extension of medical marijuana trial

SPRINGFIELD — Gov. Bruce Rauner and state Rep. Lou Lang have agreed to negotiate an extension for the trial medical marijuana program.

And that means the Skokie Democrat, who has led the charge for access to the drug, won’t try to override the governor’s alteration of a bill that sought to extend the program four years from when the first dispensary began officially operating.

The governor altered the bill to extend the temporary program just four months, ending the program in April 2018, accounting for the delay caused as Gov. Pat Quinn left office and Rauner took over.

“They say they’re willing to negotiate and comprise, and I’m going to take them at their word,” Lang said.

A Rauner spokeswoman said the administration “agreed to negotiate with Representative Lang in an effort to find common ground.”

Rauner’s office, though, provided no details about what they hope negotiations will lead to.

Lang said, “I don’t have a line in the sand. I just know four months isn’t enough time to study the program and to help the patients, so I just want to stretch that out.”

Lang’s announcement comes after House Democrats tried and failed on a number of override measures Wednesday, including a bill that symbolically pitted the state’s power of labor against the Republican governor.

An exception was HB1, which paves the way to fund heroin treatment. Rauner had used his amendatory veto power on that measure. In that case, Republicans put votes in favor of an override.