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Central Illinois Dispensary Sees Strong Support for Medical Marijuana

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The Illinois medical marijuana program has seen slow growth. While that may seem to be the status quo for other businesses, it isn’t the case for The Clinic Effingham which opened in September 2016.

The fate of the Illinois medical marijuana program isn’t known following Jeff Sessions’ announcement, Effingham Daily News reports. But, businesses aren’t going to be closing down “just in case.” Illinois medical marijuana businesses plan to continue to operate as normal.

Shelley Esker of The Clinic Effingham said, “We are currently at 600 plus patients, and we are pretty proud of that. We have several physicians throughout South Central Illinois who are supporting our clinic.”

Esker also said, “Our patients are driving 100 miles in either direction to come to use. We have been growing. We average about 40 new patients a month.”

Regarding the fate of the industry in Illinois, Peter Kadens, CEO of Green Thumb Industries, said, “No one actually knows. I couldn’t give you a certain answer. But I think the reality is a lot a people believe that cannabis has real therapeutic value and I don’t think that is going to stop us or impact us from being able to service our patients.”

Kadens also said, “Mr. Sessions has an opinion and fortunately for us, many of the U.S. attorneys around the country that prosecute people like us don’t share his opinion. The one important thing to understand is that he did not change the law. What he rescinded was not law, it was merely prosecutorial guidance that allowed prosecutors to have more discretion in terms of who they want to prosecute and when and how.”

Illinois, like much of the country, is amid an opioid crisis. Federal marijuana crackdowns might fuel that battle even more.

Esker said, “Illinois has an opioid crisis right now an if they take this away from our patients they are really going to have a problem on their hands. A lot of our patients have the support of their physicians, and those physicians are helping them step down off their prescription drugs and just use cannabis as their medicine.”

Esker also said, “The stigma with medical cannabis is when some people here the word marijuana you have to be high. You do not have to feel that high. There are several different strains you can sue without a high dosage of THC.”

The Clinic Effingham offers products to patients from seven different cultivators. Offering local product, according to Kadens, is important.

Regarding the variety, Kadens said, “We know that our medicine isn’t the only medicine, we don’t have a monopoly on good medicine. That’s why we buy product from a variety of other people around the state. We want our patients to have the best access to the best medicine and that’s not just us. We are proud of the fact that we are open-minded and serving patients the best way possible, even if it’s not our product.”