BLOOMINGTON — Three companies that have proposed medical marijuana cultivation centers in Lincoln, Dwight and Delavan earned enough points to be recommended for licenses to former Gov. Pat Quinn.
At least two companies that eyed Normal locations for distribution centers also made the list.
Documents showing recommendations for 19 cultivation centers and 56 distribution centers were obtained by The Associated Press and other news organizations in response to Freedom of Information Act requests. They were released Monday.
Quinn's administration had prepared the lists of businesses to receive the lucrative medical marijuana licenses before he left office, according to AP. The Quinn administration initially had said it would issue licenses by the end of 2014, but it left office with that promise unfulfilled.
George Sweeney, a spokesman for the former governor, said in an emailed statement that the Quinn administration had made "substantial progress" evaluating the applications, but more work was necessary.
Lance Trover, spokesman for Gov. Bruce Rauner, said officials will review the process Quinn aides used and "refer our findings to the attorney general's office. No licenses will be granted until this process is thoroughly reviewed."
The recommendations from the Quinn administration include a cultivation center proposed in Dwight by PharmaCann, an Oak Park company; a cultivation center in Delavan proposed by Ace Delavan LLC., a Lockport-based company; and cultivation centers in Lincoln and Kankakee by Cresco Labs LLC, Chicago.
"It would be a fantastic addition — good-paying jobs — if it does come to fruition," said Jared Anderson, Dwight Village president.
Anderson said that besides bringing 40 to 50 jobs to the community, ParmaCann has pledged to give Dwight 5 percent of its profits. The village likely would use some of that money to help its police canine unit, he said.
If approved, the ParmaCann cultivation center would be in the New Lenox Machine Co. site on the east end of Illinois 17, said the company.
Meanwhile Ace Delavan proposed a cultivation center at Illinois 122 and Springfield Road in Delavan and estimated it would bring 60 jobs to the community.
Cresco Labs has received Logan County support for a proposed 40,000-square-foot cultivation center at the northeast corner of North Lincoln Parkway and 1800 Street. That facility would bring about 40 full-time jobs.
Meanwhile, two companies that had talked with Normal town officials about possible medical marijuana dispensaries also were recommended: Nu Med RX LLC and TGS Ill. LLC. Nu Med was considering 501 Northtown Road; TGS was considering 109 E. Northtown Road.
On the eve of Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's inauguration this month, just hours before Quinn would leave office, the Chicago Democrat's administration still was making changes to the lists as it drafted news releases that never were sent, according to the documents obtained by AP.
The documents provide no explanation for the shortened list or why Quinn left the matter for Rauner to decide.
Two weeks earlier, Bob Morgan, the state's medical marijuana program coordinator, was pushing the administration to award the licenses.
When Quinn left office, his administration publicly said the agencies in charge of evaluating applications still had more work to do. But the emails and other documents show the agencies were ready to award many of the licenses.
The new information could trigger lawsuits, said patient advocates and the lawmaker who sponsored the legislation that created Illinois' medical marijuana pilot program.
"The scoring system should have played out and those with the highest number of points in each area should have won," said Rep. Lou Lang, a Skokie Democrat, questioning why the Rauner administration released the documents before granting the business licenses. "This creates fodder for litigation. And there will be litigation."
Some dispensary applicants with known political ties or other complications had high scores but were disqualified or put on hold at some point in the process. For example, one dispensary application from a strip club owner in Chicago was marked "hold" and noted the man's name.
Another applicant, Health Central LLC, had hired former Quinn chief of staff Jack Lavin to lobby for medical marijuana licenses. The documents show the company was a top scorer in the evaluation for two dispensary licenses, but was marked red and "disqualified" without stating why.
Chris Lindsey of the Marijuana Policy Project, a national group that supports legally regulated marijuana, said Rauner and Quinn are "delaying a program that everybody wants."
"Both (governors) were concerned that this would blow up in their faces, but this puts severely ill patients in a very difficult position," Lindsey said.