North Aurora medical marijuana dispensary prepares to open
Trisha Seydel of Wheaton has had painful rheumatoid arthritis for 23 years. And conventional medical treatments have caused side effects that were worse than the disease, she said.
For example, the medicines she takes reduce her immune system's ability to fight infections. That led to her getting an infection that destroyed one of her hips, requiring a replacement. And the painkillers can damage her liver and kidneys.
So she is willing to give medical marijuana a try to see if it will ease her pain.
"I hope to be the first patient," she said Friday at an open house for PharmaCannis' dispensary in North Aurora.
She may well be, given her son, John Leja, is co-CEO of PharmaCannis, based in Oak Park.
At the open house, representatives explained to local government officials and businesspeople how the facility would work. They were allowed to do so because no marijuana has yet been delivered.
The parking lots, lobby, reception area, consulting rooms, purchasing area, break room, vault and workroom are all under video surveillance. Besides having staff members watch them, representatives of the Illinois Department of Public Health will be able to view them at any time, said Mary Gemini, who will oversee PharmaCannis' four Illinois dispensaries, including ones in Schaumburg and Evanston. Gemini said the company expects to open the North Aurora dispensary by the second or third week of November. The state is expected to send patients their ID cards around Oct. 31. So far, it has approved requests from 3,100 people. Applicants must specify what dispensary they will use.
The marijuana and marijuana-infused products will be stored in a vault. No more than 48 ounces at a time will be allowed in the workroom.
There won't be any PharmaCannis logos on the vehicles delivering the marijuana, and the clinic will be closed during delivery days. Once drivers pick up the product at the cultivation center, they must drive directly to the dispensaries, Gemini said.
Waste will be ground up in the vault and mixed with another substance, such as sand or cat litter, "so no one will be able to get it out or sniff through it," Gemini said.
The dispensary intends to start with marijuana buds. Later it might sell oils, tinctures and topical ointments containing the marijuana, then edible products. Those would be produced at one of its two cultivation centers.
The dispensary is located in a large office building that also houses a Veterans Affairs medical clinic.
"This is certainly a medical facility and should be treated that way, despite the controversy (over medical marijuana)," North Aurora Village President Dale Berman said. "As long as it is regulated and approved by the government, we certainly can't be against it."
"And being located across from the police station can't be all bad," he joked.