One of my biggest pet peeves is when rich people that don't know hardly anything about medical marijuana enter the medical marijuana industry. I understand that there are benefits to having well-off people in the industry, but I don't think 'helping our image' is worth the problems it creates for patients. Patients need medical marijuana experts helping them access quality meds, not Ivy League graduates that probably don't even consume marijuana.
Sadly, more and more states are creating such huge price tags to open a medical marijuana safe access point that only rich people will be able to afford to open one. There are of course rich people that are knowledgeable about cannabis, however, more often than not they are just someone trying to make money off the backs of patients. It looks like Illinois is going down this path. Russ Belville gave the following breakdown on National Cannabis Coalition's website:
Regulators drawing up proposed rules for the new medical marijuana program have instituted enormous start-up costs for dispensaries and cultivation centers. To sell pot, a business will have to show $400,000 in reserve assets and shell out a $5,000 non-refundable application fee on top of a $30,000 yearly permit fee. To grow cannabis, it's $250,000 in reserve, a $25,000 non-refundable application fee and a $200,000 annual permit.
The law establishes 22 grow centers and 60 dispensaries, with 13 in Chicago, 11 in Cook County, and three or fewer in the remainder of the state. As for the patients in the program, they get saddled with an annual $150 registration fee, fingerprinting and a background check for a photo identification card, and "registered qualifying patients and designated caregivers are not eligible for a Firearm Owners Identification Card or a Firearm Concealed Carry License."