Alexian Brothers says no to medical pot firms' donations
Medical marijuana businesses would have donated to hospital
Alexian Brothers Health System officials are saying thanks but no thanks to potential medical marijuana growers and sellers who have promised to donate funds to the system if they get a license to open business in Elk Grove Village.
The village board signed deals this week with nine companies seeking to operate either dispensaries or cultivation facilities within the Elk Grove business park.
As a stipulation of the agreements, each proposed cultivation center pledged to give $15,000 to Alexian Brothers and two other organizations, while proposed dispensaries promised to give $5,000 each -- if they eventually win a coveted state license.
But the health system has politely declined the money.
"Alexian Brothers Health System believes that a complex issue such as this requires a great deal of evaluation and consideration and does not intend to be a recipient of any donated funds from these programs," a statement reads in part.
"No agreement exists between Alexian Brothers Health System and the operators or the village."
Mayor Craig Johnson said the village told Alexian Brothers they were on the short list to get funding, along with the Kenneth Young Center, a mental health and senior support facility, and the police department's D.A.R.E. program, an anti-drug education initiative.
"Those were the three entities that popped into our head," Johnson said Friday. "If ... Alexian says, 'We don't normally take money from companies that do this,' that's fine."
The village can find another organization to donate the money to, he said.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture began accepting permit applications last Monday from those seeking to sell or grow medical marijuana. State regulators will award the licenses -- 21 cultivation centers and 60 retail shops are permitted statewide -- but an endorsement from the local municipality is needed to get a license.
Some towns, like Elk Grove Village, have asked potential operators to pledge funds to local organizations as a condition of approval of development and operating agreements.
How many medical marijuana operations will come to Elk Grove is unknown, but state rules will permit only one cultivation facility throughout all of Cook County and one in DuPage County, and one dispensing organization in either Elk Grove or Schaumburg townships.
Growers who get the licenses have also pledged $30,000 apiece to the village for community events.
Dispensaries will give $5,000 to the village.
Mitchell Bruski, CEO of the Kenneth Young Center, said he'd happily take the donations, should one or more medical marijuana facilities be awarded state licenses to open in Elk Grove Village.
"This is something that is legal, and if they want to make a donation to us to help fund the kind of services we provide, we're delighted," Bruski said. "We're glad we're at the top of the mayor's list."
Those seeking to open a dispensary or cultivation center have until Sept. 22 to send their applications to the state.
Approval of licenses could come by the end of the year, with medical marijuana ready to be sold as early as the spring of 2015, officials said.