Medical marijuana dispensary sets up shop in Effingham

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By Stan Polanski Daily News

 

EFFINGHAM — A medical marijuana dispensary has moved to Effingham with plans to open later this month.

The Clinic Effingham, located at 1009 Ford Avenue, moved into its location on the north side of the city in the same building complex that also houses the new VA Clinic.

Kovler’s Green Thumb Industries, of Chicago, and Nutritional High, of Toronto, paired up to bring The Clinic Effingham to the city.

After talking with a number of district 12 communities, Ben Kovler, CEO of Green Thumb Industries, said Effingham seemed like the right fit for a dispensary. District 12 includes the counties of Clark, Clay, Cumberland, Crawford, Effingham, Fayette, Jasper, Lawrence, Marion and Richmond.

“We’ve been developing a good relationship with the community and city,” Kovler said. “We have a lot of patients in the area that need medical cannabis.”

City Commissioner Kevin Willis, elected in spring 2015, said that even as a former police officer, he welcomes The Clinic Effingham.

“I have no issues with it,” he said. “It’s regulated by the state. And they’ll be selling the drug for medicinal purposes. All the facilities I’ve seen elsewhere do a really good job with security. Good luck to them.”

Mayor Jeff Bloemker agrees.

“To me, this is no different than the welcoming of a pharmacy,” he said.

  “I wish them the best of luck, knowing they will be helping the people that need it.”

An open house for the dispensary will be held Aug. 15 from 3 to 6 p.m.

Unlike the medical marijuana growing plant the city council blocked in late 2014, The Clinic Effingham did not have to seek approval from city government.

“It’s a legal activity,” said Bloemker. “All they had to do was pick a location that was zoned properly. There wasn’t a lot of city involvement.”

The cultivation facility, now located in Edgewood and currently operated by Effingham Medicinal Farms, had to seek approval from the plan commission and city council for rezoning to locate just south of Effingham. The plan commission approved the rezoning request, but the council denied it. The business left Effingham for Edgewood afterward.

“I felt the council shouldn’t have denied the grow facility,” said Bloemker, who was on the plan commission at the time. “The type of facility they were going to build was incredible.”

Ashley Peterson, CEO and president of the Edgewood medical marijuana growing company, said last month that the company was working in a temporary location, awaiting the completion of its permanent facility.