News Local/State

Urbana Medical Marijuana Facility Opens

The patient service desk at Nu Med, a medical marijuana dispensary that opens next week in Urbana.

The patient service desk at Nu Med, a medical marijuana dispensary that opens next week in Urbana. Travis Stansel/Illinois Public Media

The second medical marijuana dispensary to open in Champaign County is now seeing its first customers. Nu Med has seen a few delays, undergoing a couple of final state inspections, but held two public preview days in the past week prior to its opening Tuesday.  And a consultant working with Nu Med hopes to launch an education effort on the drug's medical benefits.

The Agent In Charge at Nu Med’s location in Urbana, Jayme Brewer, says the site at 105 East University will offer several different strains of the drug with different amounts of THC, the main chemical compound that creates a so-called "high."

Jayme Brewer, The Agent In Charge at Nu Med’s location in Urbana.

Travis Stansel/Illinois Public Media

“It’s not all psychoactive - that’s controlled. You don’t have to have a high dose of THC. You can get the same medicine with a very low dose of THC," Brewer said. "So you can subvert a lot of those negative effects. Especially if you’re someone who’s very active during the day, and can’t afford to be well, stoned, you need to have all your facilities, so there is medicine that caters to all those individuals.”

Ben Rediger is the CEO of Education to Grow, and a consultant to Nu Med. He says there’s an educational component to the program, and  hopes this treatment becomes part of the curriculum when the Carle Illinois College of Medicine accepts its first students.

“Our goal is to create the data for them, so in 2018 when they’re ready, we have proof that this is something that should be implemented into their classroom time," he said. "Where someday there will be medical cannabis majors and specifics for different strains that treat different conditions in chemistry and biology and botany and agriculture. I mean there’s a world of things we can learn.”

Rediger hopes to schedule meetings with Carle Foundation President and CEO James Leonard and University of Illinois President Tim Killeen.

Brewer says Nu Med will receive its product from four different downstate cultivation sites.

Nu Med joins Champaign-based Phoenix Botanical, which opened in May, as the two dispensaries the state's medical cannabis pilot program will allow in State Police District 10, which includes Champaign, Vermilion, and seven other Central Illinois counties.

When Governor Bruce Rauner signed an extension of the state’s medical cannabis program to July 2020, adding conditions like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, it also meant he had more control over adding additional ones.

But Brewer says the number of patients is still on the rise, and Urbana city officials are excited about the opening of Nu Med, after hosting public tours this week.

"As people become more familiar with the medicine, I think we're going to see lessened restrictions," he said. "I think we're going to see more people choosing this as an option. We've gotten some pretty positive feedback, and there seems to be a general need for more medicine."

Consumption of medical marijuana does not require smoking it - products containing varying levels of the psychoactive substance THC include candies and vaporizers. This is a sample of containers for products Nu Med will sell to qualifiying patients.

Travis Stansel/Illinois Public Media