Quincy News

Cannabis retailers eyeing expansion in Quincy

The front door of Herbal Remedies seen from the inside on Wednesday, Sep. 18, 2019. Herbal Remedies, along with Green Thumb Industries, arelooking to become recreational cannabis retailers in Quincy. | H-W Photo/Katelyn Metzger
Katelyn Metzger 1|
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Sep. 19, 2019 12:01 am

QUINCY -- At least two different companies are hoping to receive a state license allowing them to open an adult-use cannabis dispensary, or retail, location in Quincy.

"Since it was not for sure until this Monday that the Quincy City Council would pass the ordinance, we do not have our paperwork into the state yet," Christine Wildrick said. She is the chief operating officer for Herbal Remedies, which is one of the two companies hoping to open an adult-use cannabis dispensary in Quincy. The other company is Green Thumb Industries, which is based in Chicago.

The state application for adult-use dispensing organizations requires a completed application, a $30,000 non-refundable application fee, a non-refundable fee equal to 3% of the dispensing organization's total sales from June 1, 2018 to June 1, 2019, or $100,000, whichever is less.

State law gives medical dispensaries already in operation the first shot at the coveted state licenses, which are limited to a certain number per United States Bureau of Labor Statistics region. For Quincy and Adams County, the state has said no more than three licenses will be awarded for the West Central region, which includes Adams, Brown, Cass, Christian, Fulton, Greene, Hancock, Henderson, Knox, Livingston, Logan, Mason, McDonough, Montgomery, Morgan, Moultrie, Pike, Schuyler, Scott, Shelby, and Warren counties.

Businesses like Green Thumb Industries, who do not currently have a license to operate a medicinal marijuana dispensary in Quincy, will be able to apply for a Conditional Adult use Dispensing Organization License beginning on Oct. 1, 2019. The application is due Jan. 1, 2020. The licenses are to be awarded on or before May 1, 2020.

Currently, the state has approved five licenses for adult-use dispensaries in Mundelein, Joliet, Naperville, Effingham and Canton. These licenses have been awarded to medical dispensaries looking to expand into the recreational adult-use market.

State officials say they will continue to approve licenses in the order that they are received, so that list of approved locations will likely grow in the coming weeks and months.

If approved by the state, Wildrick said her company plans to open a recreational cannabis dispensary in two suites of the shopping center at 4440 Broadway. The two suites will be adjacent to the current location of the medicinal dispensary location of Herbal Remedies. The medicinal and recreational dispensaries will be divided to ensure the privacy of both stores' clientele, according to store officials.

Wildrick said she hopes that the state will approve their request for a dispensary license for the Broadway location within 14 days of its submission, and she hopes to have the adult-use cannabis dispensary open for sales on Jan. 1, 2020, which is the date the sale of adult-use cannabis will be legal in the city.

"That is certainly our goal," Wildrick said. "We will are working expeditiously to be compliant with all of the requirements, to pass all inspections and to be ready for Jan. 1."

The Quincy-based company is also eyeing a possible expansion in downtown Quincy.

"We have a site in mind, but we don't have that site locked down yet," Wildrick said. In a meeting with the Quincy City Council earlier this month, Wildrick's colleague Bob Lansing said the company is hoping to build a 6,000-square foot facility in downtown Quincy.

An exact location was not discussed. Wildrick said they hope to announce the location of their downtown dispensary within the month. If the company does build downtown, Wildrick said it will likely be sometime in 2020 before the downtown location is open.

It also remains unclear exactly how many jobs will be created to staff the additional locations.

The second company, Green Thumb Industries, did not respond to requests for comments from The Herald-Whig by the press deadline.

The company has been represented by multiple officials at Quincy City Council meetings, including GTI's Chief Compliance Counsel Dina Rollman, who specializes in government and regulatory affairs for GTI.

"We feel that two stores would really foster competition and really maximize economic impact for the city," Rollman said. She told members of the Quincy City Council that the company is looking to construct a facility in Quincy. A specific location for the dispensary was not given in the meeting.

Green Thumb Industries operates 95 retail locations and 13 cannabis manufacturing facilities, according to the company's website. GTI owns four of the five dispensaries that have already received their licenses from the state to sell adult-use recreational cannabis. The company also has a 50% ownership stake in the fifth location in Effingham.

"We could effectively hit the ground running," Rollman said. "This is something that we know how to do and do it well. We can hit the ground running to optimize our ability to begin serving customers. That not only means that people will begin earning wages in our store, but also that the tax revenue for the city starts coming in."

The city will be able to collect its 8% general sales tax on Jan. 1, 2020 on all items sold at adult-use cannabis dispensaries or cannabis-related businesses. The city's new 3% marijuana sales tax will not be collected until Sept. 2020, per state statute.

Rollman said GTI would hire a local construction company to construct the retail location. She also added that once construction was completed, the company would also look to hire 13-15 people to work in the store. Rollman did not specify if these were full-time or part-time jobs.

Both Rollman and Wildrick said the dispensaries would not allow on-site consumption and would not have consumption lounges as part of their store blueprint.

"It will be a highly regulated facility," Rollman said. "These will be the most safe and secure facilities that you have in your community."

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