WICKER PARK — Medical marijuana consultant Good Intentions, which billed itself as the first of its kind to open in the state last summer, hopes to get some massive attention with a new ad on the Eisenhower Expy. near the borders of Oak Park and Chicago.
The billboard, placed along the inbound Eisenhower near Austin Boulevard Thursday, simply reads, "Good Intentions medical marijuana services," along with a link to its website.
Daniel Reid, managing partner of Good Intentions, said the ad is about "creating awareness" for those who don't know where to go to eventually receive medical marijuana. His business, however, is not attempting to be one of the dispensaries eventually licensed by the state to sell pot.
He said there are also plans to eventually install signs over the company's office along Ashland Avenue.
The business, founded by Tammy Jacobi, a former nurse, made waves when it opened Aug. 7 in Wicker Park at 1723 N. Ashland Ave. before the state's medical marijuana law was set to take effect in January. Medical marijuana, however, is still not for sale anywhere in the state.
Jacobi has also run a similar operation in Saugatuck, Michigan, and Reid said the pair hope to open up additional offices in Michigan as well as Florida.
The Wicker Park office began charging potential patients $99 back in August to eventually see a doctor, and the business later came under fire when the state filed a complaint against Brian Murray, once a physician there.
The Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation accused Murray of violating the Medical Practice Act, alleging that Murray was charging for a "pre-certification" for medical marijuana without establishing a legitimate doctor-patient relationship.
According to Reid, Murray no longer works there.
Reid and Jacobi continue to charge a $99 fee for doctor visits as well as $159 for their "comprehensive service plan," which includes, among other things, "In-office Consultation with a Medical Marijuana (MMJ) expert" and "management of the state application process and renewal," according to the Good Intentions website.
The company is also careful not to call itself a clinic these days, and Reid bills Good Intentions as more of a "consulting" business for patients who want to learn more about medical marijuana options.
But he is offering his Wicker Park office to doctors who want to see patients, Reid said.
The Illinois law, signed by Gov. Pat Quinn in August about a week before Good Intentions opened, stipulates that those eligible for medical pot have at least one of about 40 serious medical conditions, including cancer, AIDS and Crohn's disease, among others.
According to proposed rules submitted by the Illinois Department of Public Health, those hoping to receive medical pot can't submit an application until September.
Reid said Good Intentions is there to help both patients and doctors navigate the law, which requires patients receive fingerprinting, background checks and photo identification.
"These are not [medical] conditions where people just have all the time and energy in the world to fill out state applications," Reid said.
Susan Hofer, a spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation, said the complaint against Murray is ongoing and urged caution for those hoping to receive marijuana from anyone other than a doctor.
"A person seeking certification for medical cannabis should work with their physician, the one treating the condition for which they believe they're eligible," she said.
But Reid said he's encountered a number of potential patients who don't have doctors, and that Good Intentions can refer them to the right physician.
Reid said he's also seen a number of people who have been handed fake certifications by so-called doctors promising pot. He said he's reported those to the state as well as worked to educate patients about what doctors can and cannot do under the law.
"There's some fraud and some opportunistic things that are going on there," Reid said.
Ultimately, Reid said he hopes the billboard attracts the attention of those who are sick and looking for answers, or if they have friends and family looking for some help figuring out the state's complicated process.
"My hope is that they'll know that there's a place for them to go," he said.
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