Key lawmaker behind medical marijuana bill calls Gov. Quinn's inaction a 'failure'

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Rep. Lou Lang was a key sponsor of the bill to legalize medical marijuana in Illinois. | AP file photo

The lead sponsor of medical marijuana in Illinois called Gov. Pat Quinn a “failure” for leaving office without approving licensing to grow and distribute the substance in Illinois.

State Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, called Quinn’s decision an outright failure to patients and sick people across Illinois.

“The failure is not from the state agencies. State agencies worked their butts off to make this happen. The failure needs to go where the buck stops, at the governor’s office,” Lang said. “I have been a big supporter of Gov. Quinn and this is a failure.”

Lang said he plans to work with the Bruce Rauner administration to move the issue forward.

“This is a real bad blow for patients and very sick people who have waited a long time through a lot of legislation, rule-making, applications, waiting on these licenses to be issues and the product to be grown. For their health care purposes,” he said.

State Senate President John Cullerton wasn’t happy about Quinn’s inaction, either.

“I think there are people in our caucus that were very disappointed, because people who passed the bill were people concerned about people with young children who have epilepsy,” Cullerton said.

“Well now they have to wait for quite some time it appears so a new governor can look at this. So I was disappointed the governor chose [to opt out].”

Cullerton said he didn’t think Rauner would be able to auction off the licenses as the Republican suggested during the campaign.“The licenses should be given out to people who are qualified,” Cullerton said. “There are statutes. There have been rules that are adopted to score all these applicants. … So I think he’s got to work within the laws and work within the rules that we’ve adopted. We’ll see if he wants to make any changes. ““He’s the governor. I can’t force him to give out licenses I think he should do so as quick as possible.”

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Chicago Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed first reported that Quinn would not issue the licenses.

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