Medical marijuana suppliers optimistic about Illinois program’s future

Quad-City businessman Matt Stern saw Illinois’ medical marijuana program as a lucrative investment opportunity, but not much else.

“I’m not ashamed to say it,” said Stern, who owns Nature’s Treatment of Illinois, one of 39 licensed dispensaries. “I knew very little about medical cannabis when I got into this, but I’m a firm believer in this now. It’s helping people.”

The cannabis retail shop opened in February to sluggish sales. But Stern said his business is gaining momentum and only has room to grow under new legislation that expands the state’s medical marijuana pilot program.

Gov. Bruce Rauner is expected to sign off on the extension of the program to July 2020. In addition to giving medical pot another two-and-a-half years, it adds two qualifying medical conditions and takes away responsibilities doctors have in the patient-registration process.

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