FULTON, Illinois - It's been almost a year since medical marijuana sales started in Illinois and profits are skyrocketing. Sales have topped $23.5 million since the program started last November.
As of October, 11 2016 the program now includes more than 11,000 patients and the number of dispensaries is growing with 44 licensed to sell medical marijuana.
Steven Minner, 67, has been fighting rheumatoid arthritis for over a decade.
“My outlook was just more pain, more isolation,” remembers Minner.
He thought his only hope for relief would come from pain pills.
“The thought of being on something like Oxycontin for the rest of my life, I don't want to say it gives you a fatalistic outlook but it's not very encouraging,” says Miner.
Fighting the pain became unbearable until he found medical marijuana sold legally at The Dispensary in Fulton.
“I feel better, more active and I've been able to keep my weight down,” says Minner.
Since The Dispensary opened in July, business is booming.
“Anywhere from 30% to 50% growth in profit every month,” says Jeff Soenksen, General Manager at The Dispensary.
That growth is also pumping in money to the state. Medical marijuana sales in Illinois hit $3.8 million just last month.
“I don't know what the future is going to bring but I'm just really glad they are here,” added Minner.
With more than 100 patients and growing, The Dispensary could help more people down the road.
“We want to be affordable here we want to give patients the relief without hurting their pocketbook,” says Soenksen.
Out of all the Illinois patients in the medical marijuana program about 85 of them are children.