By Chris Lindsey
Republican candidate for Illinois governor Bruce Rauner announced earlier this week that, if he had been in office, he would have vetoed Illinois' new law, which allows seriously ill patients access to medical cannabis. Rauner also said he preferred a system that would make business licenses available only to the highest bidders in order to raise money for state coffers.
Governor Quinn, who signed the medical marijuana bill in 2013, took exception to the comments, pointing out that the process is both competitive and transparent. His campaign called Rauner's statements "heartless" and stressed that the law "will ease pain and provide relief for cancer patients (and) severely ill people."
Rep. Lou Lang, who sponsored the current law, noted that Illinois' program is among the most tightly-controlled in the country. He also stated that "[t]he whole notion that Mr. Rauner would veto the bill, the notion that it would go to the highest bidder, is just callous, and flies in the face of logic."
Rauner's opposition to the current law stands in contrast to most Republican lawmakers, who joined Democrats earlier this year to extend the program to allow individuals with seizure conditions to qualify for access. His statements are particularly important because the winner of this election will be in office in 2017 --- when the current program expires. In order for seriously ill patients to continue to have access, a new law will need to be passed.