News Local/State

Champaign Medical Marijuana Dispensary To Open In March

Marijuana plants

In this Sept. 15, 2015 file photo, marijuana plants with their buds covered in white crystals called trichomes, are nearly ready for harvest in the "Flower Room" at the Ataraxia medical marijuana cultivation center in Albion, Ill. Seth Perlman/Associated Press

Champaign is about two months from opening its first medical marijuana dispensary. And the site will have help with registering patients. 

Phoenix Farms expects to open its location, called Phoenix Botanical, sometime in March. Before that happens, Medical Cannabis Research will host a series of free seminars in the area. 

Its CEO and founder, Caprice Sweatt, says her group was hired by Pheonix Farms to educate those in Central Illinois about the benefits of medical cannabis. She says the hopeful patients she sees are in their early 40’s, and desperate for a legal, safe alternative.

“Most of them are tired of the narcotics, and so they come out really curious," she said. "So we put on a really nice, professional seminar.  We give all the ins and outs of the Illinois program – rules and regulations for the patients and the doctors, and how we walk through that.  And then we talk about the medicinal benefits of the cannabis.”

Sweatt suffers from Chron's Disease, and uses medical cannabis herself. She and her husband, Eric Sweatt, also operate Salveo Health & Wellness cannabis dispensary in Canton, which opened in early November.

Caprice Sweatt says she's disappointed more conditions haven't been approved for treatment in Illinois medical marijuana pilot program, like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. But she's also seen close to 4-thousand patients now registered.

"Their reports back to us are phenominal," she said. "The personal tesimonies we're having are incredible. People are coming out spending money for the medicine, but we need to get the doctors on board a little bit more." 

The future location of Phoenix Botanical at 1704 S. Neil Street in Champaign

Photo Credit: Jeff Bossert/Illinois Public Media

An official opening date for the Phoenix Botanical office in Champaign will be announced in the next few days. The state has yet to approve the license for Phoenix Farms, as well as for NuMed Rx, which plans to locate a medical cannabis dispensary at 105 E. University Ave. in Urbana.

Medical Cannabis Research will also have a Champaign office, likely next to the Phoenix Botanical dispensary, in the same complex – helping new patients gain access. 

The group's four free seminars are scheduled for:

Saturday, January 23, Danville Public Library, 2-3 p.m.

Sunday, January 24, Champaign Public Library, 2-3 p.m.

Saturday, February 6, Charleston Carnegie Public Library, 2-3 p.m.

Sunday, February 7, Urbana Free Library, 10-11 a.m.  UPDATE - Sweatt says the Urbana event will be rescheduled at a later date, probably in March.  The library isn't open at that hour on Sunday.