Mother Earth Holistic Health is a nonprofit organization. We are dedicated to supporting patients rights, as well as advocating for the safe access to medical cannabis for the patients of Illinois.Read More
By Alice Fabbre, Special to the Tribune
April 15, 2014
|Tedd Recknagel, CEO of Green Point Botanicals, and Maryann Loncar, president of Mother Earth Holistic Health and CEO of Patient's Health Center, plan to open Mother Earth Holistic Health next week in Plainfield. The non-profit company will host seminars to educate people about medical marijuana laws. (Alicia Fabbre, for the Chicago Tribune)|
As Plainfield trustees figure out what to do with potential requests to locate medical marijuana dispensaries or facilities in their town, one group is gearing up to help others understand how medical marijuana works.
Mother Earth Holistic Health is set to open its offices in downtown Plainfield in the coming weeks. The nonprofit group has worked with state lawmakers in developing the state legalizing medical marijuana. The group plans to host seminars to educate patients about the regulations and boost public awareness of medical marijuana.
"We want to (educate) the community," said Tedd Recknagel, who has operated grow facilities in Colorado and Michigan. "It seems insensitive to bombard the community with something that's been controversial."
Plainfield trustees Monday offered general support for having a grow facility or dispensary in their town, but requested their village attorney look into the issue.
Mother Earth is part of a trio of companies focused on marijuana. The for-profit arms include Green Point Botanical, a cultivation company, and Patient's Health Center, the dispensary arm. Recknagel, who is CEO of Green Point Botanical, said his group hopes to locate both a grow facility and dispensary in Plainfield. The group hopes to open three grow centers and five dispensaries in Illinois — the maximum allowed for one company under state law.
He said the group approached Plainfield officials about 1 1/2 years ago to see if they would be in favor of having a grow facility or dispensary in Plainfield. The group selected Plainfield because it is within the districts of state Sen. Linda Holmes and state Rep. Tom Cross. The group worked with Holmes, a Democrat, and Cross, a Republican, to get medical marijuana legalized. Holmes has multiple sclerosis.
"We thought this was neutral ground," said Maryann Loncar, president of Earth Holistic Health and CEO of Patient's Health Center.
State law allows for 60 medical marijuana dispensaries and 22 cultivation centers — one for each state police district — to be located across the state. Illinois has joined 19 other states that have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes.
The state law, which took effect this year, allows adults to obtain up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana every two weeks if they are using it to treat one of 40 specified medical conditions.
Municipalities and county can enact rules to regulate dispensaries and grow facilities, but cannot prohibit them from locating within their jurisdictions.
"Is it going to be in Plainfield? I say yes," said Plainfield Village Trustee Jim Racich.
He noted his brother died of cancer and said he welcomed both dispensaries and a grow center if it could who are suffering debilitating illnesses.
Trustees noted some possible for a grow center include an industrial area off 143rd Street or along 119th Street.
Though other towns have enacted rules requiring special-use permits and hearings, Trustee Dan Rippy questioned if that was even allowed under state law. He added state agencies will have final say on granting a company a permit for a grow center or dispensary. Trustee Bill Lamb also expressed concern about the potential of abuse of medical marijuana.
Loncar noted that Illinois' law is one of the strictest in the nation. Patients, for example, will be required to be fingerprinted and undergo background checks. Unlike some other states, conditions such as "chronic pain" are not listed as one of the qualifying illnesses to be treated with medical marijuana.
Recknagel suggested a grow center would need anywhere from a 30,000- to 100,000-square-foot building. He was unsure when his group may present plans to Plainfield for a grow facility or dispensary but anticipated it would be in the coming months.
The group does plan to start meeting with patients and hosting educational seminars at Mother Earth Holistic Health in the near future.