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People with deep pockets seeking grow permits

Update: 10:05 pm ILLINOIS -- The state's new medical marijuana law may be weeding out potential growers.
Update: 10:05 pm
ILLINOIS -- The state's new medical marijuana law may be weeding out potential growers. WCIA-3's Alex Davis keeps us Connected to the Capitol.

Farmers and the sick are fed up with the strict regulations. For Todd Hirstein, every day which passes without medical marijuana is another day he suffers.

"I think that they're losing focus on what the end goal was."

Hirstein has cancer. He lobbied for the law and is now just watching and waiting for it to be implemented. He's growing frustrated.

"Their focus is on more of the preparation and the regulation."

Recent reports show big names with political ties to the governor and Hillary Clinton are vying for these cultivation centers. They're getting investors to help them pony up the big bucks required.

"The regulations require, not only that you be able to get a business up and running, but that you be able to sustain it."

Proposed rules state each applicant pay a $25,000 non-refundable application fee, plus have some $500,000 in liquid assets. It's something a sustainable farmer, like Kristi Poole, doesn't think is fair.

"It's frustrating really because I don't think that they're really in it for the right reasons. You know, they're in it for the money aspect and not to actually help these people who can benefit from this medicine."

Not only is Poole invested in the issue as a farmer, but as a mother of a little girl with epilepsy. She's anxious to get the drug in liquid form to help her 5-year old.

"Pretty much a miracle drug for a lot of children with epilepsy."

Just like Hirstein, she says regulators need to get back to the root of the issue.

"It's not about the money. It's about the sick and, you know, the people who really need this."

Putting this law into effect is still months away. It could be even longer for companies wanting to grow or sell marijuana. They would have to meet other requirements as well.
Original: 4:36 pm
ILLINOIS -- The state's new medical marijuana law may be weeding out potential growers. Reports show big names with political ties to the governor and Hillary Clinton are vying for the cultivation centers.

Applicants are required to have $500,000 in liquid assets on hand, plus they have to pay a $25,000, non-refundable application fee. Some sustainable local farmers say it would be hard to pony up that kind of cash without knowing they'll get the permit.

Companies wanting to grow or sell marijuana will have to meet many other requirements as well. The implementation of the law is still months away.
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