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      Springfield Medical Marijuana Dispensary to Open in February

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      Springfield Medical Marijuana Dispensary to Open in February / WRSP

      A medical marijuana dispensary in downtown Springfield is set to open in two weeks and Monday, Fox Illinois got a look inside the shop.

      After Monday, only patients will be allowed beyond the lobby area of the nearly $2 million facility.

      HCI Alternatives is set to open on February 15 for approved medical marijuana patients.

      With only about 4,000 registered patients, one leader in the industry said there's instant pressure for these new businesses to succeed.

      Soon HCI Alternatives hopes to have these shelves filled with medical marijuana products come February 15.

      "Having worked to see this come to fruition in 3 years is amazing," said Chris Stone, the HCI Alternatives CEO.

      The dispensary on the corner of 7th and Adams in downtown Springfield will give registered patients in Central Illinois another spot to purchase medical marijuana, like Eren Williams of Jacksonville. She said she's legally disabled by the state and suffers from degenerative spine disease.

      "I just want to subside and not be in pain and not have pain drive me down into depression," said Williams. "It helps me feel a little more normal."

      She has traveled about 10 times, an hour and a half to Quincy each way, to get her prescription, which can cost at least $100 dollars a week.

      "I have to keep spending 20 or more dollars in gas each time I travel there," she said.

      But it's still a little smoky what's next for the medical marijuana industry. There are only 4,000 patients registered with the state and concern how much money this will bring in to these multi-million dollar facilities.

      "So I think that some of these businesses may close up. I think some of these investors may pull back their money," said Dan Linn, the executive director of NORML. "My concern is first and foremost for patients to have access to this medicine and if shops are closing then patients will have to go farther distances to get access to this medicine."

      But HCI Alternatives leaders said they're not concerned yet and there could be a spike in patients registering with the state with these facilities opening, but more doctors will need to recommend their patients for state approval.

      "Even though the patient count is low now, I think it's just a matter of time and a matter of education for that to grow," said Stone.

      The facility is set to open on February 15. At that point, if you're registered with this dispensary, you'll be able to buy product.

      Click here to find out how to qualify for the medical cannabis program and specific dispensaries.

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