Open house for Milwaukee-Devon medical marijuana facility set for Nov 4





by BRIAN NADIG

Educating prospective patients about medical marijuana will play a key role in the success of the Union Group dispensary, which is opening in mid-November near Milwaukee and Devon avenues.
“We are not selling narcotics. We are selling medicine to people with chronic pain, discomfort,” said dispensary owner Dmitrey Stebley. He said that marijuana is safer than many of the prescription drugs sold at pharmacies.

Union Group, 6428 N. Milwaukee Ave., will hold an open house for the community from 3 to 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4, and it is expected to begin selling marijuana products about a week later. It is the second medical marijuana facility to open in the area, as Columbia Care opened last summer at 4758 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Stebley, who was a surgeon in the Ukraine and who owns a dispensary in Saint Charles, said that based on his experiences in the industry, about 90 percent of those who try medical marijuana report benefits in terms of pain relief. The projected cost of marijuana at the dispensary is about $20 per gram.

Stebley said that he knows a child whose number of seizures decreased from 300 a day to a few a month after taking marijuana drops. He added that a client at his Saint Charles facility who had been confined to a wheelchair now walks with the help of a walker after taking medical marijuana.

For those who do not want to smoke medical marijuana, it comes in a variety of forms, including edible products, oils and topical creams, Stebley said. “It’s a new industry. We’re getting new products every day,” he said.

In some instances, clients suffering from chronic pain will eat a piece of a fudge made with marijuana to help them sleep, and for bed-ridden patients, a caregiver can apply a cream with to the joints, Stebley said.

Many of the products can be produced with a “very low dose” of the chemical agent which gives marijuana “its high,” as the pain relief comes from a different agent, Stebley said.

Barno Kadyrov, principal officer of the company, said that Union Group plans to conduct a large amount of community outreach to explain the benefits of the medicine and to help prospective clients register for a state medical marijuana card, which requires a fingerprint background check and a letter from a doctor certifying that the applicant suffers form one of the approximately 40 medical conditions covered under the law.

To meet with prospective clients, the facility has a small meeting room that is not connected to the sales area, Kadyrov said. Under state law, only those with a card are allowed into any space where marijuana is present.

Stebley said that half of the states allow medical marijuana and that he believes Illinois has the toughest restrictions, serving as a deterrent to anyone who is seeking medical marijuana for the wrong purposes.

It is much easier to purchase a highly addictive painkiller such as Vicodin than medical marijuana, Stebley said. “There’s no background check for Vicodin,” he said.

The dispensary will be open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays.

About 170 patients have registered at Stebley’s Saint Charles facility since it opened in January. “Everyday new patients come through the door,” he said.


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