A Batavia couple is aiming to open a medical marijuana dispensary on Naperville’s west side.
Hugo and Traci Fernandez have proposed a facility at 1701 Quincy Ave. drawing on their own personal experience with neurological conditions. They are hoping the state will grant them a license later this year.
The couple already runs both an Internet marketing agency and a nonprofit group, the United Paralysis Foundation. The latter stemmed from Traci Fernandez’s battle with transverse myelitis, a neurological disorder she contracted in 2008 that left her paralyzed. The foundation funds research for paralysis and spinal cord injuries.
While Traci Fernandez is able to manage her pain with traditional medicines, she has met plenty of people who haven’t been as fortunate and turned to medical marijuana.
“She knows how bad things can get for people in those types of conditions and in need of that type of medicine,” Hugo Fernandez said.
The pair teamed up with Traci Fernandez’s father, Robert Livas, who is a Will County circuit judge, and Kathy Tucker, who has managed engineering organizations, to start 3C Compassionate Care Center.
The medical marijuana dispensary company has the dual goal of helping patients with their pain as well as funding research through the Fernandez family’s nonprofit group, according to Hugo Fernandez.
They are pledging 20 percent of the profits to their foundation and another 5 percent to the local communities where they run dispensaries. In addition to opening a Naperville dispensary, the company hopes to open one in Joliet.
Hugo Fernandez wasn’t always on board with medical marijuana, but once he started researching it, visiting dispensaries and cultivation centers and meeting patients he said he became “a huge believer.”
“We know firsthand from talking to other patients this can work,” he said. “It might not work for everybody, but it can work.”
Last year as Naperville city councilmen prepared for medical marijuana to become legal in Illinois, they agreed to allow dispensing facilities in industrial areas without a hearing. Officials confirmed Thursday the proposed location on Quincy Avenue falls into that category.
The company still will need a building permit from the city. But first, it must get a license from the state to dispense medical marijuana. Melaney Arnold, spokeswoman for the Department of Public Health, said the agency hopes to make applications available in the next week or so, which will be followed by a review period. State law sets a limit of 60 dispensaries statewide.
Such facilities would likely be able to open in early 2015, Arnold said.
3C Compassionate Care Center isn’t the only group that has expressed interest in opening a dispensary in Naperville. Another group also has reached out to the city for a site that would ultimately require City Council approval, officials said. However, that group has not yet submitted the necessary paperwork.
For more information about 3C, go to 3cdispensary.com.
Copyright © 2014, Chicago Tribune
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