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Medical Marijuana in Western Illinois


The founder of the Chicago based company that hopes to open a couple medical marijuana cultivation centers in western Illinois says it is a personal issue for him.

Alex Thiersch of Salveo Health and Wellness says his mother died of cancer. He thinks medical marijuana could have eased her pain, and that's  one reason he wants to open cultivation centers. 

Thiersch said he's trying to assure people that culrivation centers are not going to cause problems.

“I get questions not only from people, but also from mayors of cities and law makers, who are worried that  there’s going to be marijuana flooding the streets. And that’s just not the case, " said Thiersch.

Thiersch said there is a huge amount of competition for cultivation centers in the state, and he said companies are only allowed to run a certain amount of centers.

He is looking at sites in Warren and Adams counties, plus a couple locations in northern Illinois.

Macomb Not Interested

Meanwhile, it appears Macomb aldermen will work to put rules in place that will make it difficult to open cultivation centers and dispensaries in the city.

Mayor Mike Inman, who had a long law enforcement career before he became mayor, thinks residents are not especially interested in trying to attract the medical marijuana industry to Macomb.

Credit Rich Egger

"I think you have to remember we're a rather conservative community here, and I think that the way the state law's been crafted allows us at the local level to have some degree of control," said Inman.

He expected the city to take much the same approach it did with adult entertainment businesses.  The city cannot forbid those establishments, but it put in place regulations that would make it difficult for such a business to be profitable.

Inman said the city is likely to craft an ordinance designed to regulate medical marijuana facilities rather than promote their establishment.

"I don't think we would actively go out and advocate for such an operation," said Inman.

"There are certain businesses we would absolutely love to see in the community. There are certain businesses that bring a degree of shall we say downside with them. I'm not sure where this falls out on that spectrum."

The state will allow one cultivation center in each of its 22 Illinois State Police districts, and 60 medical marijuana dispensaries will be allowed around the state.

Inman said the state law requires the cultivation centers to be at least 2,500 feet away from places such as churches, schools, and day care centers, while dispensaries can be built no closer than 1,000 feet to those establishments.

He said the city will work with the GPS Center at Western Illinois University to determine where it might be possible to build cultivation centers and dispensaries in Macomb.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.