ELGIN — The city recently received its first application seeking conditional use approval for opening a medical marijuana dispensary in town.Thiersch said he would like to have a dispensary in Elgin because of its size, that it has a large health care presence with two hospitals and various clinics, and because he is familiar with the town from having family there.The state eventually will be allowing one cultivation center in each of the 21 Illinois State Police districts, and 60 dispensaries across the state, with two of those being allowed in Kane County.Thiersch noted that entities are allowed to apply for up to five dispensaries and three cultivation centers as long as all are in each category are in different districts. The growing and cultivation centers must be indoor facilities.As such, Salveo also is looking to grow marijuana near Roseville in Warren County in central Illinois and in Winnebago County in northern Illinois. The company would like to have dispensaries in Rockford, Elgin, and Quincy, Thiersch said.The dispensaries initially each could employ 10-15 people, with 25-30 working at the cultivation centers, Thiersch said.Thiersch said he and his business partner have been working with MedMen, a consulting firm from California that specializes in the medical marijuana business.“They’s been in the industry for 5-7 years and bring retail and product experience to an approach that is clean, discreet, and professional,” Thiersch said. “This is a very serious business, more so in Illinois which has a limited list of conditions for which marijuana may be used for treatment and which has barriers to entry.”Those barriers include requiring cultivation centers to pay a $200,000 license fee and have $500,000 in liquid assets, while dispensaries must pay a $30,000 licensing fee and have $400,000 in liquid assets. Thiersch said these requirements should help make sure the businesses succeed.“The extensive rules here in Illinois means the business will be more regulated than banks,” he said.Thiersch said he and Dohm see their venture as an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of what will be a growing business. Both have personal reasons, too, with Thiersch noting his mother died from cancer and dealt with pain and painkillers during her battle with the disease.“Many people and probably most doctors believe that marijuana does help some people deal with certain conditions,” Thiersch said.To that end, Thiersch noted that the centers will make and dispensaries will offer products beyond marijuana intended for smoking, including capsules, salve, teas, and edibles. And product will be grown to have more cannabidiol — the ingredient thought to have medical benefit and perhaps even counter the high associated with recreational use of pot.“The industry has matured a lot in the last two years,” Thiersch said. “A lot of people might be very surprised how much more professional it is and how patient-focused it is,” Thiersch said.The Elgin location would be 1330 Crispin Drive, Unit 215, which is in the Fox Bluff Corporate Center off McLean Boulevard and north of Bowes Road.Early this year, the Elgin city council unanimously approved a set of zoning regulations that allow places growing or selling cannabis only to be located in industrial, research and office parks and to be considered conditional uses.Setbacks from places such as schools and residential areas for growing centers would be at least 2,500 feet, while setbacks for dispensaries would be 1,500 feet — and they could not have drive-through windows.State law disallows towns from unreasonably prohibiting such operations.In January, Elgin Corporate Counsel William Cogley noted that the trial program for the state ends Jan. 1, 2018, and that the new Elgin rules, in keeping the marijuana-related dispensaries off main roads, address a possible stigma attached to them and represents a conservative approach to the matter.Tags: Medical Marijuana [embedded content]
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