Medical Marijuana Company Looks To Start Growing
Nearly two years after a bill legalizing medical marijuana in Illinois was signed into law, one northern Illinois site is on the verge of growing one of the first crops.
Norah Scott and her husband Teddy co-own PharmaCann in Oak Park. The company plans to grow medical marijuana in Dwight and Hillcrest, and run four dispensaries in the Chicago area.
State inspectors visited the Dwight location last week, and Scott expects to hear soon whether the company passed. The cultivation site could be growing the product as soon as mid-August.
Scott, who's also PharmaCann's chief human resources officer, said the process has gone smoothly under state laws and local regulations. She said the biggest concern now is that less than 3,000 people - too few to sustain the industry - have been approved to use the drug.
“And as dispensaries open, and people start to see that this is real, and it’s happening, a possibility that if there’s a condition that someone has, they can do to their doctor and talk it over with their doctor, and hopefully be approved to receive one of the cards," Scott said. "So we do expect to see the patient numbers go up from then, but that is something has been a challenge for everyone in the industry, I would say.”
The Illinois Department of Agriculture is also starting to issue its state ID cards for medical marijuana companies, including employees of PharmaCann. Scott said the director of cultivation is in place for both the Dwight and Hillcrest sites, and is interviewing technicians.
Meanwhile, she said construction on PharmaCann’s three dispensaries is nearly finished, and expects to have them ready to sell medical marijuana by early fall.
Illinois' medical marijuana program is set to expire in 2017 unless lawmakers extend it. Scott said the key is getting the product to patients as quickly as possible to prove to legislators that the program is a success.
Meanwhile, according to the Chicago Tribune, one company in southeastern Illinois has already started growing medical marijuana. That’s Ataraxia, based in the Edwards County town of Albion.