CHICAGO — The city's first (legal) medical marijuana business said it has received tens of thousands of requests from hopeful patients and created an advocacy group in the wake of the state's new law, which will allow pot for medical use starting in January.
Since Good Intentions opened its doors in Wicker Park at 1723 N. Ashland Ave. on Aug. 7, the clinic has received 20,000 requests from people seeking its particular brand of care, according to general manager Daniel Reid.
“Patients have been coming to us with lots of questions, asking who will qualify as a patient, how and when certification will happen, and how patients will be able to obtain medicine next year when the law takes effect," according to a statement from Reid.
On Monday, Good Intentions announced the Thomas Jefferson Project, hoping to unite potential medical marijuana users and supporters to work with state regulators.
The project, which is membership-based and headed by Reid, plans to spread the word about medical marijuana. One of its stated objectives is to "eliminate unnecessary obstacles, regulations and red tape that hamper patients' ability to obtain quality medicine."
It plans to focus on Illinois regulations before tackling broader, national medical marijuana issues, according to a news release.
This summer, Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law the "Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program," a four-year program that takes effect in January 2014.
The law will allow patients suffering from a list of 42 illnesses, such as cancer, AIDS and complications from Alzheimer's disease, to be eligible for marijuana prescriptions.
The legislation includes plenty of restrictions, including how much marijuana patients will be allowed to have access to and where they can buy it. The state will authorize 22 growers and 60 dispensaries for the state, which it has yet to announce.
“Keeping patients at the forefront would seem to be easy, but there also must be safeguards put into place to eliminate loopholes that could lead to abuse of the program,” Reid said.
Good Intentions has said that it is not an authorized dispensary and it cannot actually dole out marijuana, but it has started taking patients at a $99 registration rate to be evaluated as January draws closer. Patients will be able to get prescriptions for marijuana from a doctor there, the clinic said.
The company is owned by Tammy Jacobi, who operated a similar clinic in Michigan.
“The Thomas Jefferson Project is focused on putting patients first,” Jacobi said. “Its purpose is to work closely with governmental entities to put into place rules and regulations that make sense."