Mundelein marijuana clinic patients hopeful pot will help
Monday's opening of The Clinic Mundelein began an early day for David Fry and his wife, Angela, who drove north from Dixon.
"We left this morning about 5:15 or 5:30, but we got lost a couple of times," said David Fry, a 40-year-old former construction supervisor who fell 12 feet off a ladder seven years ago and broke his back and neck. He said has rods and pins in his back and takes medication for pain and anxiety.
"They give me high-powered medication to get through the day and to sleep. It works, but the side effects aren't the greatest. I was looking for alternatives," he said.
Angela Fry said her husband wanted to get off the pills, so he went to the medical marijuana doctor.
"We never thought this day would be here," she said.
The couple were among a small group that arrived early for the clinic's noon opening. For opening day, the Mundelein clinic offered six varieties of marijuana of varying strengths, with names such as Grape God Bud, Blue Cheese and G6, but operators expect to have 20 or more soon. Patients are allowed a maximum of 2.5 ounces every two weeks, but supplies were limited Monday in Mundelein.
"We're self-imposing a limit just to help as many people as we can," said Matt Estep, president of GTI (Green Thumb Industries) of Chicago, which holds the dispensing license for Mundelein.
Patients could receive a maximum of a quarter-ounce of one type or one-eighth ounces of two types. The cost is $110 for a quarter ounce, cash only, patients said.
Ron Lindstaedt, 58, of Island Lake arrived at 5 a.m. and would be the first to get inside. Lindstaedt said he has had many surgeries and has pumps in his body to distribute pain medication. He said he takes "a lot of medicine" to treat several ailments that surfaced 16 years ago and have intensified.
"My condition is very bad. I'm on a ventilator at night. It's like somebody beating you up every day," Lindstaedt said. He said he knows the medical marijuana won't solve the problems but hopes it will help.
Only patients or caregivers were allowed inside the Mundelein clinic and the selection process was tightly controlled. There is browsing but no touching.
"It's like going into a jewelry store with glass counters," explained Kim Bitters, 50, of Beecher. "When I first registered, I thought it would be like going into a candy store. I thought you'd be able to touch it and smell it."
Bitters, who was the second patient to arrive, said she suffers from severe arthritis and fibromyalgia and wants to get off the medications she takes.
"Making history," she said of the clinic opening. "Hopefully, it will be life changing. I'm praying."