CHICAGO – Republican governor candidate Bruce Rauner said Tuesday he wouldn't have signed legislation creating Illinois' medical marijuana pilot program because it includes a secret process for deciding who may grow and sell the drug.
Rauner said it's "another hallmark" of a culture of corruption under Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn. He said the public should know who's applying for a limited number of state permits, and whether the permits are given to "insiders" with political clout.
"Millions of dollars in business licenses are up for grabs and Pat Quinn wants to keep taxpayers in the dark," Rauner said.
Quinn Spokesman Grant Klinzman said the law keeps applicants' identity confidential so the state officials who award the permits won't be influenced by political connections.
"The purpose of keeping information confidential, as approved by legislators of both parties, was to ensure the highest standard of integrity of the selection process," Klinzman said.
Quinn signed Illinois' four-year program into law last year, saying it will help seriously ill patients. The program allows people with certain diseases, such as cancer, to use the drug.
The application process for cultivation center and dispensary permits started last week and ends Monday.
Rauner said Quinn shouldn't have signed the legislation because the process isn't transparent.
He said medical marijuana is "not something I've supported" but it's "not a big issue for me either way" and he has other priorities.
Quinn campaign spokeswoman Izabela Miltko called Rauner's stance "heartless" because the law will provide relief for severely ill people.