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As regulators review hundreds of applications for a coveted registration to cultivate and dispense medical marijuana in Illinois, the safety, security and integrity should be paramount. As with other highly privileged licenses, maintaining the integrity of the regulatory process will lead to a positive public perception that the most qualified will be selected. Those who pay to play in order to secure local endorsements should be viewed with skepticism, while those with the most experience and safeguards and unwillingness to buy their way into a local thumb’s up be given the most consideration.

Safety and security are givens in the analysis. Bob Morgan who is heading the Medical Cannabis Pilot Program hosted town hall meetings in August where security was mentioned 58 times. And, the chief sponsor of the Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, Rep. Lou Lang has been quoted in several articles and has stated in presentations that, in his opinion, “security will be the tie breaker… .” The high regard for security and safety is consistent with the recent roll out of video gambling in Illinois. Currently there are approximately 18,000 video gambling devices in over 4,500 locations scattered throughout the state. The Illinois Gaming Board, which regulated video gaming, requires that each location utilize a secure redemption kiosk to store cash that is paid to winning patrons. With hundreds of millions of dollars wagered, there have been just over 50 attempted burglaries in over two years at video gambling locations. The redemption kiosks have clearly worked as a deterrent.

The same should be considered for the dispensing of cannabis. The technology exists.

Dispensaries that commit to the utilization of a secure kiosk to dispense the cannabis should be highly regarded. While there will be surveillance and other security measures proposed by all applicants, the sheer deterrent of a vaulted storage and dispensing system would add a layer to the safety and security of the program. It has already proven results in the gaming market.

Security also includes the ability to track the cannabis from seed to sale. Regulators must be able to follow the cannabis at all times. Again, all applicants will propose some type of tracking, but there is only one company that has received a patent for the entire tracking process. The public company is participating in every market where cannabis has been legalized and Illinois should embrace the technology too.

Medbox, Inc. has partnered with entirely Illinois residents who are experienced business entrepreneurs, pharmacists and community leaders to file applications for cultivation and dispensary registrations, including Matt Stern, president of Rock Island-based Stern Beverage.

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Medbox embodies safety, security and integrity. Medbox has a proprietary vault dispensing system that is similar to the redemption vaults utilized for video gaming. It has the only patent that tracks seed to sale. The technology can be used to ensure that patients cannot purchase more than the authorized amount. It works similar to a central system that keeps track of video gaming in Illinois. The Video Gaming Central System maintains the integrity of the gambling environment. Similarly, the Medbox technology can provide and maintain the integrity of the cannabis industry. Finally, Medbox is the only applicant to have a former FBI Assistant Director of Security to its Independent corporate board of directors. Jennifer Love was a 27 year veteran of the FBI who was appointed by Director Mueller in 2011 to her assistant director position.

In order for the pilot program to become permanent, the public must have a positive perception in the integrity of the regulator environment. Safety, security and integrity.

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    Cory Aronovitz is an attorney with Casino Law Group LLC, Chicago, and a partner with Matt Stern, of Rock Island, in Medbox.

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