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Public Reacts Postively Toward Normal Pot Dispensary

Emma Shores
Steve Sompong of Bloomington speaks to WGLT News Reporter Michael Hill

McLean County residents are reacting to a new medical marijuana dispensary opening in northern Normal. The Green Solution opened their doors Friday to allow members of the public to preview the facility.

Steve Sompong of Bloomington has a prescription for cannabis to treat Fibromyalgia. He said he's had to drive to Canton and Peoria to obtain the substance.

"Now I'm three miles away. This is the greatest thing that's ever happened in the state of Illinois," he said. "I mean, help with medical, children [and] everything. Everybody benefits from this that has problems.”

Sompong said, since he’s switched to medical marijuana, he no longer has to rely on other prescription drugs to treat pain. He said he recently had back surgery and was able to recover without using opioids.

Suzanne Perschall of Bloomington said she's had to hold off on getting a prescription for medical marijuana, because she and her husband can't travel far.

"I put off applying for the card for about year, because I don't drive, and, with him having had a stroke, I don't want him driving any long distances either," she said. "So I put off till there was something closer that I could actually access."

Perschall, who has Multiple Sclerosis, has had to rely on a limited supply of opioid prescription drugs to treat pain. She said she has to wait until the pain is severe so that she doesn't run out of medicine, and that the pills have side effects.

Perschall’s husband, John, said it’s “about time” for a dispensary in McLean County. He said the state has been “dragging their feet” on the medical marijuana program.

“My wife’s gone through so many loops and changes and everything else trying to get the permit, and they just don’t want it to happen.”

Another hitch in the medical marijuana program is that insurance carriers don’t cover the drug. Sompong said it’s the only bad thing about the situation.

“If they can come up with something to where insurance would cover this, it would help out tremendously.”

The facility will open its doors again next month for those who have a prescription for the substance. It will be the first and only medical marijuana dispensary in McLean County.