Due to the short notice, we plan on Monday as an informational session to be followed by another meeting in the week of the 28th that will be devoted solely to this issue including a vote.
We have received the following from Jon Erickson who is a principle at Advanced Herbal Alternatives:
Advanced Herbal Alternatives, LLC is a corporation formed to participate in three-year Illinois Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program (“MCPP”) as a medical cannabis dispensary. Advanced Herbal Alternatives is comprised of four principal officers/investors, Dr. Ali Rafi, Michael D. Oppenheimer, Jaimie Lawler and Jon Erickson. Advanced Herbal Alternatives is fully funding, well beyond the mandatory minimum of $400,000.00 required by the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation.
The central mission for the dispensary is to provide the best medical care for qualified Illinois patients with debilitating conditions such as HIV/AIDS and cancer, but is also committed to the goal of funding education, clinical and behavioral research, and substance abuse prevention, education, and care.
Advanced Herbal Alternatives assures both the State of Illinois and Buena Park Community that the issuance of a dispensary registration authorization by the Department will not have a detrimental impact on the community.
Advanced Herbal Alternatives has received a letter of intent from Thorek Hospital to lease space at 4015 N. Sheridan. Advanced Herbal Alternatives is dedicated to the preservation, maintenance and integrity of the landmark structure and facade of the building (formerly known as Nick’s Uptown).
The proposed location for the dispensary is suitable for public access; the layout will promote safe dispensing of medical cannabis and the location is sufficient in terms of size, lighting, parking, handicapped accessible parking spaces, ADA-accessible entry and exits, product handling, and storage.
Advanced Herbal Alternatives intrinsically understands that security is of paramount importance. We are keenly aware of the added security challenges that a business of this nature faces, and we have taken extensive measures to have professionally-vetted policies, procedures, and systems in place to provide comprehensive protection, not only for our physical plant and inventory, but also for our employees, patients and neighbors. Our security will meet or exceed the requirements the Department has set forth. We understand that any changes to this security plan must be submitted to the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation for approval.
Our Security Plan incorporates five components: Facility Security, Security and Surveillance, Operations Security, Product Security, and Shipping/Transportation Security Measures. The preventive measures adopted in these components will protect the public, our patients, and our staff. We also are confident that should there be any breach of security, our comprehensive response capabilities will ensure the incident is quickly detected, contained, and resolved at the appropriate response level. Full communication and follow-up reporting with applicable state and local law enforcement agencies will also be a standard operating procedure.
Advanced Herbal Alternatives has committed to donating a percentage of its revenue to the Howard Brown Health Clinics (“HBHC”) and the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (“AFC”) for the entirety of the pilot program. As a not-for-profit community health center, HBHC provides primary and behavioral healthcare, education, and social services to under-served communities in Chicago and beyond, with a special focus on the LGBT community and on the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS and other chronic conditions.
AFC coordinates case management and housing services for people with HIV in the Chicago metro area, and advocates for improved prevention and HIV care services for people with HIV in Illinois and across the nation and globe.
As a not-for-profit organizations, HBHC and AFC rely significantly upon charitable donations to provide these services. The proposed donations from Advanced Herbal Alternatives to both HBHC and AFC will help both HBHC and AFC continue to achieve its mission-driven objectives of serving low income, uninsured, and medically complex patients.
Advanced Herbal Alternatives has a strong commitment to the general welfare of our employees, community, and officers. Our goal is to create a safe environment in which we operate our dispensary. We recognize the importance of and need for complying with the applicable provisions of all codes, ordinances, regulations and laws in order to maintain a safe working environment. The proposed dispensary will be located in an existing building owned by Thorek Hospital.
Consistent with our commitment to keep our employees safe, the features of this building will be analyzed and upgraded as necessary to stay up to current code requirements in order to maintain the necessary level of safety and protection consistent with its intended use. Any new internal construction, alteration and reconstruction will be designed in compliance with current applicable building, fire, and electrical, mechanical, and plumbing codes. The design will incorporate the latest energy-efficient technologies, conserve energy, select the most environmentally friendly materials, and lessen our carbon footprint.
There are parking spaces, including handicapped spaces, provided at the rear of the dispensary lot for patients. The surface of the existing asphalt concrete pavement will be steam cleaned. The parking stalls will be marked with 4-inch wide white stripes. On-site parking will be provided for employees. All the parking spaces will be striped with white lines. In addition, parking lot lighting will be provided as necessary. The existing paved area will be repaired as necessary. The design of the parking lot will conform to ADA standards.
No new sewer laterals will be required for the dispensary.
No new storm drainage facilities are required for the dispensary.
Advanced Herbal Alternatives proposes to construct and operate its dispensary in one existing building that will be remodeled in compliance with all applicable provisions of the latest editions of the building, mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire codes.
As a licensed dispensing organization of the state, Advanced Herbal Alternatives takes the responsibility of maintaining accurate records of inventory quite seriously. The pilot program for medical cannabis can only be successful if our organization maintains strict control over all inventory in our possession so as to prevent any potential for theft or diversion.
Our inventory tracking software allows for full accounting of all cannabis contained within the dispensary in real-time. The inventory is recorded once it is received at our facility and entered into our electronic system with a barcode. When licensed, qualifying patients make a purchase, the tracking system deducts that quantity from our inventory. All of these records are maintained electronically, backed-up on our internal file servers with additional back-up to a cloud based server. The inventory tracking system is fully auditable and can produce reports on facility inventory, and individual qualifying patient purchases. Our organization will conduct weekly inventory reports for internal records, hard copies of which will be maintained on site for a period of six years. At any time, state regulators and law enforcement can request records relating to inventory within our facility.
We will immediately produce all requested documentation to these individuals.
Advanced Herbal Alternatives is committed to fulfilling all the requirements in Illinois law and state regulation relating the audits for its dispensing organization. Audited information includes regular reporting on inventory and purchases made by qualifying patients. Audits will also be conducted on financial records in conjunction with an outside certified public accountant.
Inventory audits are an ongoing part of our operating procedures. As stated above, we are intimately aware of the potential for theft or diversion of cannabis outside of the patient realm. Through strong internal controls, enhanced security measures, and regular audits, we anticipate that the potential for theft or diversion will be low. Our inventory audits will be conducted by inventory team members and overseen by our Agent in Charge.
The audits will include a full weekly accounting of all medicine contained within the dispensing organization. These audits will be compared with the records maintained within our electronic inventory control system. Any discrepancies from the audit will be documented and immediately reported to regulators within the Department and Illinois State Police. Copies of the audits will be maintained on site for a period of six years and available for inspection and review by state regulators at any time.
With the leadership of our Security Consultant, we are developing a state-of the-art plan that takes advantage of the security industry’s best practices and most up-to-date technology, ensuring that our dispensary facility operates at the highest level of security preparedness.
We have reached out to local law enforcement officials in our area of application to enlist their input and cooperation in the development of our security procedures. The goal is for our plan to meet or exceed current standards for policing and securing this type of facility.