In 2014, individuals began to file applications for registry identification cards, and businesses and entrepreneurs began to apply for dispensary and cultivation center licenses. In all, the State received 214 dispensary license applications and 159 cultivation center license applications. However, despite doing much of the legwork in evaluating these applications and vowing to grant applications before his term ended in 2014, Governor Quinn left the process of license approval to his successor, Governor Bruce Rauner, who had been vocal in his criticism of the Act and has continued to publicly call for further studies to validate the palliative effects of cannabis before expanding the program. Amidst claims of fraud and favoritism in Governor Quinn’s process, Governor Rauner’s staff undertook its own review of the cannabis business applications and, as a result, the State did not begin to grant business licenses until February 2015, or roughly 19 months after the Act was initially signed into law. By that time, however, the Department of Public Health had only granted 650 registry identification cards to patients, well below anticipated participation levels.
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