Medical marijuana licensees include Peoria firm, backers of Delavan site

By Nick Vlahos of the Journal Star 

The mystery about who will be operating medical-marijuana dispensaries in Marshall, Peoria, Stark, Tazewell or Woodford counties is over.
Well, almost.
Among the 52 dispensary licenses Gov. Bruce Rauner awarded Monday was one for a site in Peoria. Trinity Compassionate Care Centers wants to establish shop in a strip mall at 3125 N. University St., just north of Forrest Hill Avenue.
“We are happy that a decision has been made that allows us to go forward,” Ben Rediger, a local representative for Lake Barrington-based Trinity, said Monday night. “This is about the patients. They’ve waited long enough.”
It probably will be four to six months before the Trinity facility will open, Rediger said.
The other dispensary license for the five-county Illinois State Police district that includes Peoria went to Nu Med RX LLC. It’s uncertain where that company is based and where the proposed dispensary might be located. Multiple sources were unable to provide insight.
The only marijuana cultivation-center license to be issued in the police district went to a firm that wants to open in Delavan. Joliet-based American Cannabis Enterprises intends to begin construction almost immediately on a building on the east edge of the city, according to Delavan Mayor Liz Skinner.
“We’re thrilled with the news, really,” she said. “Just talking to a few members of the City Council and a few other people in the community tonight, everyone is really excited about this.
“The people in this community are welcoming this with open arms.”
Skinner expects the $16 million project to employ about 60 people eventually. That would make the medical-pot plant the second-largest employer in town. Only Delavan Community Unit School District 703 is larger.
“That’ll be a huge economic impact,” Skinner said. “It means, hopefully, new rooftops and additional community development.”
Rauner awarded cultivation licenses to 18 locations statewide. At least seven applications for cultivation locations came from the Peoria-area police district. Those included proposed facilities in or near Lacon, Metamora and Varna.
Those locations were rejected, as was a proposed cultivation center in Peoria. It was planned for a site along Galena Road. A dispensary license applied for by the same firm, Peoria-based Illinois Therapeutic Health Center, also didn’t make the cut.
That Peoria dispensary was to be located at the site of a former music store at Radnor Road and Willow Knolls Drive.
The local cultivation center and dispensary license selections affirmed preliminary recommendations the state released last week. Before he left office last month, former Gov. Pat Quinn missed a self-imposed deadline to make official those recommendations. 


Rediger was effusive in his praise for Rauner, a Republican who succeeded a Democrat.

“This is representative of this shift not only in American medicine but in American politics,” Rediger said. “A newly elected Republican governor in a Democratic state can take the reins and lead on medical cannabis. It’s a beautiful thing.”

Nick Vlahos can be reached at 686-3285 or nvlahos@pjstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @VlahosNick.

SOURCE: http://www.pjstar.com/article/20150202/NEWS/150209825/