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Anna city leaders consider allowing recreational marijuana sales

ANNA (WSIL) — The Anna city council is considering a proposal to allow marijuana sales in town once recreational use is allowed.

The proposal is something every town and county is dealing with but since Anna already has a medical dispensary, the city has an advantage towards getting a recreational business.

Greg Lambert is security director for Thrive Dispensaries, a company that has medical marijuana dispensaries in Anna and Harrisburg.

Thrive is looking to get into the recreational marijuana game and he oversees the application process.

Thrive came to Anna when medical marijuana was first legalized and Lambert said sales were slow initially.  

"It didn’t have the numbers that were projected but in the last three and a half years, it’s grown tremendously," Lambert said.

The new Illinois law gives medical dispensaries the first shot at recreational licenses, so Thrive is hoping to turn its shop into a dispensary for both kinds of customers.

Lambert made his pitch to the city council Tuesday night.

"I’m here to reassure you that we plan on operating the same professional and secure organization that we have always strived to in the past," Lambert said.

Anna is also home to Wellness Group Pharms, a marijuana growing site.  

General Manager Steve Bundy said he plans on expanding once legalization starts.

"Right now, we’re at about 40 employees. I think we’ll easily double that," Bundy told the council. "That’s a conservative estimate."

Applying for a dispensary license isn’t cheap, though.

A shop like Thrive would have to spend at least $350,000 for an application and the initial license.

"There is a enormous investment that we have to do on our side," Lambert said. "You’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars that we have to invest, just upfront, to get a license, so that is something the company would have to take into consideration."

And Lambert said he’s not sure what the future will hold for Thrive in Anna if city leaders decided not to allow recreational sales.

Anna Mayor Steve Hartline said he expects the city council to vote on marijuana sales at the next meeting in October.

It was on the council agenda Tuesday night, but Hartline said he wants more time for public input.

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