Metro-East marijuana will have Colorado flavor; One problem for license holders is tiny market

By The Madison County Record | Mar 12, 2015

SPRINGFIELD – When marijuana goes on sale for sick people in the Metro-East region, it will carry a Colorado flavor.

The grower and the seller for the region both stand on the shoulders of companies in Colorado, where people can buy marijuana whether sick or healthy.

Progressive Treatment Solutions, winner of an Illinois cultivation license, identifies Denver Relief Consulting as its dispensary affiliate.

Denver Relief Consulting will contribute intellectual property to Progressive Treatment Solutions, according to the Illinois company’s website.

Progressive Treatment Solutions also advertises its involvement in a cannabis genome research center at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

TGS Illinois, winner of a license to dispense the drug, adapted its name from The Green Solution, a Denver company that operates 10 stores.

The president of TGS Illinois, former Belleville resident Tanya Griffin, worked for The Green Solution.

The Green Solution did not respond to an inquiry about its role in Illinois.

Progressive Treatment Solutions plans to grow marijuana in East St. Louis, at an address city officials have not disclosed.

TGS Illinois plans to sell the drug in Sauget.

An even stronger Colorado connection emerges in Anna, where Illinois owners of Wellness Group Pharms won a cultivation license.

According to Associated Press, AmeriCann of Colorado will own a 27,000 square foot cultivation building and lease it to Wellness for $6 a square foot.

AmeriCann will collect 25 cents of every dollar in sales, and it will charge an annual consulting fee of $240,000.

Outside support will come in handy for Illinois companies hoping to build a tiny market into a mighty industry.

Although promoters of medical marijuana predicted that tens of thousands would sign up, the state has issued only about 1,600 permits.

Marijuana websites lament that Illinois adopted tighter restrictions than any of the 22 other states with medical marijuana laws.

In Oregon, where severe pain alone qualifies a patient for the drug, nearly 70,000 citizens hold permits.

About 18,000 Illinois citizens requested application forms, but State Rep. Lou Lang of Skokie worries that few doctors will sign prescriptions.

Lang, sponsor of the medical marijuana law, said on March 11 that, “We certainly anticipated more than we have.”

“It has taken a long time to get it going,” Lang said. “Maybe some of them said, heck with it. I’ll get it where I’ve been getting it.”

He said that patients need to be asking their doctors for prescriptions now.

“If your doctor won’t sign it, find one who will,” he said.

“Maybe the patients will procrastinate. They will be disappointed if they wait until the last hours.”

The involvement of Colorado companies doesn’t disturb Lang.

He said the rules for scoring applications put a premium on Illinois ownership.

“But there were extra points for experts, on things like which strain is best for which disease,” he said.

“I am satisfied that they had a clean process and that the highest scoring folks got the licenses.”

He said the process kept names of company owners confidential, “to keep cronyism and favoritism out of it.”

The process didn’t please everyone.

PM Rx, a loser in the competition for a cultivation license in the Kankakee area, sued the Agriculture Department for choosing Cresco Labs.

PM Rx claimed the department broke the scoring rules, arguing that Cresco Labs lacked sufficient financing.

Cook County circuit judge Kathleen Kennedy issued a temporary restraining order against the department earlier this month.

No one will plant seeds this spring. For four months, state police and Federal Bureau of Investigation agents will check backgrounds of license winners.

Meanwhile, state officials continue reviewing applications for three cultivation licenses and three dispensary licenses.

The winner of one of the licenses under review will join TGS Illinois in dispensing the drug in the Metro-East region.

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