Springfield medical marijuana dispensary moving forward despite regulatory … – The State Journal-Register

Medical marijuana could be available for sale in Springfield by November or December, a spokesman for a company recently granted a state license to dispense the product said Monday.

“We’ve got a lot to do,” Health Central spokesman Chris Stone said of the tasks remaining for before the Effingham-based company can begin selling medical marijuana out of a building at 628 E. Adams St. in Springfield and from an Eastport Plaza site in Collinsville.

Once open for a few years, each site could employ 25 to 30 people full time, with nonmanagement employees earning an average of $40,000 annually, Stone said.

Each site could serve about 2,500 customers per month, he said.

But Stone said Health Central needs to satisfy regulators and work with marijuana cultivators who received Illinois licenses this year before the company can open sites that each will cost $600,000 to $700,000 to renovate and tailor to state specifications.

Despite tepid interest from patients so far and Gov. Bruce Rauner’s reluctance to continue the state’s medical marijuana program beyond 2017, Health Central’s owners remain enthusiastic and determined, Stone said.

“I think our owners and investors are very optimistic at what this industry can do,” he said.

Health Central initially was listed as “disqualified” by regulators from the administration of then-Gov. Pat Quinn when it came to dispensary applications for the Springfield and Metro East areas.

Rauner made initial awards of dispensary and cultivation licenses in February but gave Health Central a chance to resolve any lingering concerns, Stone said.

Top-scoring applicant

The company received state approval about a week ago. It has one of the two licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries in the Illinois State Police district that covers Sangamon, Cass, Christian, Logan, Mason, Menard and Morgan counties.

The other company receiving a local dispensary license was Maribis of Springfield, which will operate three blocks away, at 322 E. Adams St. in downtown Springfield. Health Central was actually the highest scoring for a Springfield-area license, displacing Springfield-based JAD Enterprises, which had the third-highest score.

JAD Enterprises spokesman Jim Watts said company officials were disappointed by the Rauner administration’s decision but don’t plan to challenge it in court.

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation didn’t respond to questions from The State Journal-Register about why Health Central was initially denied a license despite scoring the highest among four applicants.

But Stone said the reason for the state’s concerns focused on one of the former partners, Ben …Read More

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