Medical marijuana facilities closer to opening in Urbana, Shelbyville

Companies NuMed Rx, LLC and Phoenix Farms of Illinois, LLC are closer to opening medical marijuana dispensaries in Urbana.

Gov. Bruce Rauner announced the approved applicants last week. NuMed Rx, LLC and Phoenix Farms of Illinois, LLC were selected to receive District 10’s two dispensary permits.

District 10 is comprised of Champaign, Coles, Douglas, Edgar, Macon, Moultrie, Piatt, Shelby and Vermilion counties, but both dispensaries will call Urbana home. Phoenix Farms plans to occupy 202 W. University Ave., and NuMed Rx will occupy 105 E. University Ave.

“Suffering patients who desperately need access to medical cannabis products will finally have a place to go that is safe and health-oriented,” said Brett Walrod, chief operating officer of NuMed Rx in a press release.

Libby Tyler, community development director and city planner of Urbana, said she and her staff worked with applicants to find suitable locations for the dispensaries and feels that University Avenue is an optimal area for the facilities for a variety of reasons. 

“We thought it was a good corridor because there are two hospitals along University Avenue,” Tyler said. “We have a lot of medical-related uses with Carle (Foundation Hospital) and (Presence Covenant Medical Center), and medical offices and pharmacies. Dispensaries seem to fit in the business sector right there.”

Although Rauner’s announcement is a milestone for the dispensaries, there is still more to the application process. The dispensaries must receive their licenses before they can open.

“When the announcement was made last week, what that was, was basically an authorization by the Department of Financial & Professional Regulation for the businesses to apply for licensure,” said Terry Horstman, spokesman for the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation. “At this point in time they’re simply in the application process phase.”

Horstman could not disclose what steps dispensaries must take in order to move forward, but said the process includes FBI background checks.

Similarly, cultivation centers must receive formal approval from the Illinois Department of Agriculture before they can operate. Shelby County Community Services Inc. is prepared to begin construction on its cultivation center outside of Shelbyville, a city about 70 miles southwest of the University. 

“Once the state gives us the official go-ahead, then we’ll need to have the facility constructed and operational within 6 months,” said Tom Colclasure, executive director of Shelby County Community Services. 

Colclasure said the facility will plant its first crop when the cultivation center’s construction is complete, and expects to have the first harvest about three months after it’s planted. 

Angelica can be reached at [email protected]