The metro-east is set to get a medical cannabis retail store in Collinsville after a decision by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to give a dispensary license to Health Central LLC of Effingham.
Health Central plans to open a facility in a former office building at 1014 East Port Plaza Drive, according to Matthew Hortenstine, an Effingham lawyer and one of Health Central’s partners.
The location in East Port Plaza is in the same complex of buildings as Illinois State Police headquarters District 11.
District 11 includes Madison and St. Clair counties, plus Bond, Clinton and Monroe counties.
Before Health Central’s dispensary can open, it must pass a series of state inspections regarding building security and equipment, a process that could take up to six months, according to Hortenstine.
Under the state pilot program, retail medical cannabis stores in Illinois must obtain product only from state-licensed cultivation centers. Litigation has tied up several cultivation licenses, including one for a grow center that’s been licensed for East St. Louis.
Hortenstine, while acknowledging the litigation poses a challenge, said he expected his dispensaries will get the cannabis they need.
Several of the state-licensed cultivation centers have not run into legal challenges to their licenses, so “Ultimately, I don’t think there’ll be a problem with moving forward,” he said.
The Health Central retail store will be the second medical marijuana dispensary in the metro-east. The Green Solution, based in Denver, has already announced it plans to open a dispensary by late summer in the Archview Medical Center complex near GCS Stadium in Sauget.
Health Central also plans to open a dispensary near downtown Springfield. The state agency awarded Health Central the dispensary license for District 9, which is comprised of Cass, Christian, Logan, Mason, Menard, Morgan and Sangamon counties.
The partnership behind Health Central includes Hortenstine and Christopher Stone, Springfield lobbyist, according to a published report.
Under Illinois law, medical marijuana retailers must be registered with the department to acquire the drug from cultivation centers.
Jack Lavin, the former chief of staff for ex-Gov. Pat Quinn, who signed the state’s medical cannabis program into law, had lobbied for the licenses on behalf of Health Central, according to published reports.