Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

First Metro East Marijuana Dispensary Opens Monday

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

First Metro East Marijuana Dispensary Opens Monday

Article excerpt

COLLINSVILLE * Metro East's first marijuana dispensary looks like a spa.

After signing the paperwork and before choosing which marijuana flower, someone with a medical permit can enjoy complimentary bottled water, Keurig coffee and granola bars in the clean and bright waiting room at HCI Alternatives. The point, said chief executive Chris Stone, is to make patients feel comfortable, and to counter perceptions some might have that dispensaries are sketchy, unsafe places.

"It's not Colorado, it's not California. It's Illinois," Stone said.

The dispensary opened Monday at 1014 Eastport Plaza Drive and served about 50 customers on its first day. HCI's is the first in the area since medical marijuana became legal in Illinois in November. Previously, the nearest was about two hours away, in Marion.

Twenty-five dispensaries are currently licensed statewide.

Only Illinois residents with certain ailments and a doctor's permission can apply for a permit to buy and use medical marijuana within the state. …

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