Medical marijuana supporters in Illinois are accusing two businessmen of blocking legalization as they maneuver to control the future market for the drug, reported My Fox Chicago.
Jim Merlo — one of the two men who created the company Medponics, which claims its technology could “track, trace and tax” medical marijuana — claims he hired lobbyists to speak to the state’s General Assembly to ensure medical marijuana is grown safely.
Local lawyer Eric Berlin, who uses marijuana for pain related to his Crohn’s disease, told a news outlet, “I understand they’re asking for essentially a monopoly over the grow,” which he said leads to higher prices and fewer choices.
A bill sponsored by one state Democratic legislator would offer licenses to up to 59 growers, which supporters claim will deter federal agents from cracking down, as it is more difficult to target a large number of small growers than just a few major producers.
One Republican state legislator and House leader, Tim Cross, was apparently swayed by the lobbyists, as he now wants the legislation rewritten. “If somebody got stopped by the police, and said, ‘Oh, I’m using — this is medical marijuana,’ you could actually test it and find out whether it was true medical marijuana grown here at one of the facilities, or whether it was not in fact medical marijuana,” he said.
[Image: A man holds a marijuana cigarette. Photo: Shutterstock.com]