Gov. Bruce Rauner and one of his biggest Democratic critics have agreed to negotiate an extension of the medical marijuana program.
Rauner had rejected State Rep. Lou Lang's (D-Skokie) bill to set the expiration date of the program as four years from when the first dispensary permit is issued. Instead, Rauner gave the program only an extra four months to make for delays blamed on his predecessor.
"I couldn't possibly agree to four months," Lang said. "The question remained whether I should try to negotiate something or continue the battle, and I chose to try and be a little more bipartisan and to lower the rhetoric and to see if we can come to some agreement. The governor's office has committed to negotiate in good faith, and I'll take them at their word."
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Lang wouldn't say how long of an extension he expects to get out of these negotiations. He did mention House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) has helped facilitate early talks with the governor's office.
As to whether talks between himself and Rauner could lead to solutions on other issues, like the budget, Lang isn't ready to be that optimistic.
"One would hope so, but I think it's too early to tell, and I don't think this bill in particular is a test case for that," Lang said.