Illinois company withdraws lawsuit over marijuana permit

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CHICAGO (AP) — An Illinois company announced Monday it has withdrawn the first lawsuit against the state challenging the way officials dispensed medical marijuana business licenses.

Chicago-based PM Rx LLC said in a statement it has agreed to dismiss all its claims against the state and a rival company, Cresco Labs. Cresco had won a permit to grow medical marijuana in a state police district that covers Ford, Iroquois and Kankakee counties, but PM Rx challenged the way the Department of Agriculture issued permits.

"After extensive factual investigation, and in light of the recent tragic passing of PM Rx CEO Andrew James, PM Rx has agreed to dismiss all claims against both Cresco Labs LLC and the state of Illinois with respect to the state's decision to award Cresco Labs the State Police District 21 cultivation center permit" under the state's medical marijuana law, PM Rx's spokesman Steve Patterson said in a statement.

The marijuana program has been troubled by questions about background checks and how former Gov. Pat Quinn's administration conducted the process of selecting the winning businesses.

In a lawsuit filed in March in Cook County Circuit Court, PM Rx had claimed the Illinois Department of Agriculture didn't follow its own rules when it chose the winners of valuable licenses to grow cannabis.

Last week, Illinois turned over 13,000 pages of documents to attorneys challenging how the state awarded the license to Cresco Labs. The disclosure represented a win for attorneys representing PM Rx. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office fought the release of the applications and materials about how they were ranked and scored.

PM Rx had applied for a license to grow marijuana in Kankakee, but the state awarded the license to Cresco Labs. The lawsuit alleged background checks were not completed, scoring procedures were not followed and in District 21, the 'successful' applicant doesn't have the financial resources they promised they had in their application.

In response to the lawsuit, Cresco Labs President Joe Caltabiano had said his company "submitted comprehensive and thorough applications exceeding all of the state's very stringent requirements, and we stand behind our applications."

"Cresco has officially received our permit for District 21 and we're excited to get moving forward," company official Charlie Bachtell said.

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