It's unclear if state officials will release complete information about companies seeking to grow or sell medical marijuana in Illinois.
Applications from prospective companies aren't subject to state open records laws, according to the law that legalized medical marijuana in Illinois. The application period opened Monday and will close Sept. 22. Melaney Arnold, a spokeswoman for Illinois' medical marijuana pilot project, said the state won't release any information about the number of applicants until after the deadline.
The lack of transparency will make it difficult to determine whether state regulators will show favoritism for companies with strong political connections, former state Sen. Susan Garrett, who oversees the Chicago-based Campaign for Political Reform. According to reports, she says nobody should be denied this information.
Lobbyists and former government officials have already begun to team up to compete for the 22 growing center licenses or 60 dispensary licenses. Applicants have to pay a $5,000 nonrefundable application fee to sell marijuana and a $25,000 fee to grow it.