Illinois medical marijuana sales start Monday

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CHICAGO -- Illinois officials say patients will be able to buy medical marijuana legally for the first time Monday.

For patients like Ed Norville, the news is significant.

Since 2009, 73-year-old Ed has been living with colon cancer. Recently, the cancer spread to his lung.

"You get chemo, and it doesn't feel that good, Norville said.

His daily oral chemotherapy regimen has diminished his appetite, and he has lost 23 pounds. Norville is hoping that one of eight medical marijuana dispensaries licensed to open in Illinois next week will be able to provide him with some symptom control.

"My stomach gets nauseated, and I don't want to do that," Norville said.

Norville is one of 3300 qualified patients statewide that will be authorized to shop at the dispensaries. PharmaCannis is a company that operates three licensed stores- in North Aurora, Ottawa and Schaumburg.

Marijuana grown by Illinois farmers will be available raw, as well as in topical, edible and infused forms. Patients must present and identification card certifying a physician's confirmation of diagnosis.

"It's very much not a prescription," said Dan Scheidt, general manager of PharmaCannis in Schaumburg.

Employees are neither pharmacists nor medical professionals. However, they stress that they are prepared to help improve patients' quality of life.

"There are 39 qualifying conditions, and a lot of them don't have really good pharmaceutical options available," said Clay Winn, general manager of PharmaCannis' North Aurora store. "I feel like this is something that is really going to help people."

When cure is no longer possible, comfort is what is important for patients like Norville. Being able to eat, sleep and feel like pain may soon be within his reach.

"I would like to live like you," he said.

The eight licensed dispensaries are located in Marion, Mundelein, Canton, Quincy, Addison, North Aurora, Schaumburg and Ottawa.