Charlie Bachtell, CEO, Cresco Labs | August 14, 2019

The Compassionate Use of Cannabis Act was passed in Illinois August of 2013. It took five years to get the proposed legislation through the capitol. When the legislation was first developed, there were no examples of highly-regulated compliance cannabis programs out there. The State of Illinois viewed the legalization of medical marijuana from a lens of compassion, but during that span of 2008 to 2015, a lot of regulators and legislators also worried about creating the next California. There was concern that the allowance of medical cannabis was going to increase usership in people who weren’t using it for medicinal purposes, in that “wink-wink, nod-nod” sort of way. To safeguard against that, Illinois decided to fingerprint and background check anyone who had anything to do with medical cannabis. That included the patients and anybody with an operational registration card, such as the employees and everybody who was allowed into the cultivation facility. Behind the scenes Governments work on the understanding that give-and-take has to be a part of the process when passing legislation. Different constituents have stipulations that will ensure their vote. In Illinois at the time, the Illinois State Police only felt comfortable with the Medical Compassionate Use Act if the patients were fingerprinted. It was their belief that fingerprinting would prevent bad elements from having access to cannabis. It was actually the regulated nature of the Illinois legislation that made me feel comfortable with taking a look at cannabis as a business opportunity. While I appreciated the compassionate component of …

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