The latest medical cannabis dispensary is about to open in southern Illinois.
Friday, the owners of Thrive held an open house for their facility in Anna.
Co-owner Gorgi Naumovski says although this is still a pilot program in Illinois, he believes everyone is all in to extend the program for at least another two years.
"Then at that point the state has enough data to analyze and see if this was successful or not. Based on what's happening in other states, there's no reason why it wouldn't be."
Thrive is a partner with a medical cannabis consulting firm called MariMed Advisors. MariMed's Tyler Burke was on hand for the open house. He says based on his experience in other parts of the country, it takes about four years for a medical cannabis program to mature and involve about two percent of a state's total population.
"So, with the state of Illinois being at 13 million, 13 ½ million, two percent of the population in four years of this industry, we're looking at around 260,000 patients. That's a very substantial number."
Naumovski -- who's a cancer survivor -- says there are many forms of medical cannabis to make it attractive to a wide range of patients.
"There's smokables, from bud and flower. They have shakes, concentrates, waxes. We have gummy bears and chocolates, peanut crumble."
Burke says the extraction process is similar to other forms of agriculture.
"You have green tea ice cream. Well, they extract oils of the tea and then they make green tea ice cream. It's the exact same thing with cannabis. You extract the oils and you make green ice cream."
Burke is a medical cannabis patient to help treat his Crone's disease.
The Anna facility is scheduled to open for business on May 2nd. Naumovski also owns a Thrive facility in Harrisburg that opened last month.
Another dispensary in Marion opened last November.