EFFINGHAM — The Clinic Effingham has obtained early approval for a state license to dispense adult-use cannabis at its facility, starting in January.
The “same-site” state license allows existing cannabis dispensaries to sell recreational marijuana at their current locations — so long as they comply with local zoning regulations and laws.
As of Aug. 29, the city of Effingham has not established such regulations or laws, according to Effingham Police Chief Jason McFarland. He is unable to comment on how his department will handle dispensary-related laws until the city council decides on such regulations.
City Administrator Steve Miller said there were no regulations set by the city prior to the license approval.
“A determination on zoning has not been made, and the city council is still reviewing and researching regulations in other communities,” Miller said.
Miller said he expects the conversation about recreational cannabis zoning regulations to come up as soon as the second council meeting in September. He added that the city is aware of the need to make such regulations.
In addition to opening adult-use cannabis at its existing site, The Clinic Effingham is also allowed to, under the law, open a second site for adult-use marijuana sales at a different location.
Dina Rollman, senior vice president of government and regulatory affairs with Green Thumb Industries, a 50% owner of The Clinic Effingham, said the retail store will not sell adult-use cannabis until the city makes zoning regulations and cannabis-related requirements.
“The Clinic Effingham cannot and will not serve adult-use customers until it receives local zoning approval to do so,” Rollman said. “The Clinic Effingham is seeking local zoning approval in Effingham so that it can help launch this historic event of adult-use sales in Illinois.”
Rollman said without this license, The Clinic Effingham and the 54 other existing medical cannabis dispensaries in the state would not be able to sell recreational adult-use cannabis.
She said by getting approval from the state to sell adult-use marijuana, The Clinic Effingham has fulfilled, partially, the requirements set for existing medicinal dispensaries.
“Under the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act that Gov. Pritzker signed into law, the 55 existing medical cannabis dispensaries are authorized to sell to adult-use customers starting on Jan. 1, 2020, if they obtain state and local approval to do so. We have satisfied one part of that by applying to the state of Illinois for approval, and we received that,” Rollman said.
The Clinic Effingham is one of five medical cannabis facilities to apply early and be approved for the license. The Clinic Mundelein, 3C Compassionate Care Center’s two locations in Joliet and Naperville and Salveo Health and Wellness Dispensary in Canton were also approved.
Rollman said The Clinic Effingham is looking into opening a second retail location for the sale of recreational cannabis. She said the company has not determined where a second facility will be and could not reveal which towns The Clinic has considered for its secondary location.
“The secondary location for The Clinic Effingham does not have to be located in Effingham. We are exploring potential locations for a secondary site, but not in Effingham,” Rollman said.
The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation said in a statement that it expects additional applications for early licensing approval as municipalities adopt zoning ordinances regarding adult-use cannabis.
Starting in January, Illinois residents who are 21 years old or older can legally possess up to 30 grams of cannabis flower and up to five grams of cannabis concentrate. Registered patients in the medical cannabis pilot program may possess more than 30 grams of cannabis if it’s grown and secured in their residence under certain conditions.
Rollman said The Clinic Effingham wants to continue to have a partnership with the city of Effingham and are looking forward to aiding the administration in producing zoning regulations and local laws for the sale of recreational adult-use cannabis.
“The Clinic Effingham has enjoyed partnering with the city of Effingham for the past few years as it operated its medical cannabis dispensary and looks forward to continuing to partner with the city of Effingham on how to roll out adult-use sales,” Rollman said.