Illinois’ Medical Cannabis Program Shake Up

The man tapped by Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner to spearhead Illinois’ medical cannabis initiative has resigned to pursue a career in the private sector.

The resignation of Joseph Wright, 32, was confirmed by the governor’s office without further comment on the reason for the resignation.

I’m proud of the accomplishments of the past year, getting the program up and running in six months from the time I started and the consistent growth since sales started in November,” Wright said.

Wright resigned his position on Friday after one year on the job. He will be replaced by Jack Campbell, the bureau chief of the cannabis program in the Department of Agriculture, according to a spokesperson for the governor.

The first director of the program, Bob Morgan, hailed the development as “positive news for patients.

Joe moved the implementation of the program through some difficult phases including the first sales of cannabis to patients,” he said. “[Campbell] has a strong reputation for how he has engaged with (cannabis) cultivation centers during inspections.

According to a database of salaries given to state employees, Wright was reportedly paid $53,770 last year for his time on the job, and $35,000 for his time this year. Rules within the state’s Ethics Act could prohibit him from taking a job with industries that he had dealt with during his time in the post, though that remains to be seen.

The change in leadership comes as Gov. Rauner is considering signing a bill that would extend the state’s medical cannabis pilot program until 2020. The extension — passed by the state government in May — also adds to the list of medical conditions for which the prescription of medical cannabis is deemed suitable.