CHICAGO – The medical pot business has drawn a number or retired cops. In fact, the Associated Press has identified no fewer than 17 in Illinois, many of whom have outsized influence—from a trustee of the state's chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police to one-time undercover narcotics officers.
The pull of such post-police jobs extends well beyond Illinois. But industry members in Illinois and beyond say the state is unusual in the degree to which former law enforcement officers are not just working security but taking hands-on roles with patients and leading marijuana businesses.
Arguing their transformation from law enforcement to pot proprietor is about good public policy and not about money, the taxpayer-funded pensioners are lining up to leverage their connections for lucrative second career.
For example, Terrance Gainer, a former Chicago homicide detective and Illinois State Police director told AP that he was swayed in part by "the sea change in society and our attitudes" toward the drug and the possibility of big business. He now advises Chicago-based Green Thumb Industries.
Other players in Illinois include retired Will County Circuit Judge Robert Livas, co-founder of a company licensed to open two Chicago-area dispensaries. Another is a former Chicago-area assistant state's attorney who is now vice president of a company that owns a dispensary. There's also Arnette Heintze, a former U.S. Secret Service senior executive and Terry Hillard, who spent five years as Chicago's top cop. Both are partners at a Chicago consulting firm that advises medical marijuana growers and retailers.