MILAN, Illinois - The manager of a local medical marijuana dispensary says he believes state's rights will prevail over federal pot laws.
"I don't think the Department of Justice is going to impact anybody except states that allow recreational marijuana or states that loosely control its programs, unlike Illinois which is tightly controlled," said Ron Glassner, with Nature's Treatment of Illinois in Milan.
"We knew going into this business it was illegal from a federal standpoint, but state's rights have prevailed and we are hoping that remains the same," he said.
On Thursday, the U.S Department of Justice reversed a policy from the Obama Administration that discouraged prosecution of people operating under state marijuana laws.
Glassner also said there is extra protection right now under an amendment that stops the DOJ from spending federal funds to prevent states from implementing medical marijuana laws.
The amendment expires later this month, unless Congress extends it or includes it in the new federal budget.
Glassner says he expects there will be bi-partisan support to continue the amendment.
Right now, the NTI dispensary serves about 600 patients in the Quad City area.
Statewide, medical cannabis dispensaries sold about 125 million dollars in retail sales. Glassner says there are still some roadblocks in growing the industry.
Locally, there is still an issue with Quad City doctors certifying medical marijuana patients.
And, statewide, he says, there appears to be a delay in the application process.
"This state, with the population, should be able to carry approximately 230,000 patients. So far, Illinois has 24,000 registered. The state has not geared up to approve the patient application as fast as it should have," he said.
But, he applauds the way the state has tightly regulated the industry, and believes it is ripe for growth.
"There's been the Industrial Revolution, the boom after World War II, the computer revolution, and next I believe, will be the Marijuana Revolution", he said.