Pictured above: Tammi Jacobi’s Good Intentions in Wicker Park has teamed up with licensed physician Dr. Brian Murphy to open the first medical marijuana clinic in Illinois.
By Megy Karydes
Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill on August 1 legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes in Illinois that supporters say is the strictest in the nation. It joins 19 other states and the District of Columbia to allow qualified patients access to medical marijuana.
Somewhat quietly, just a week later, Tammy Jacobi opened the doors of Good Intentions, a medical marijuana clinic in Chicago’s Wicker Park/Bucktown neighborhood, becoming the first of its kind in the state of Illinois.
Jacobi is no stranger to working with patients who may benefit from using medical marijuana. A former registered nurse, she has operated a similar clinic in Saugatuck, Michigan, where medical marijuana is legal.
Jacobi said that she and her clinic partner, Dr. Brian Murray, chose Wicker Park as the location because it’s near Murray’s home, there is parking within the strip mall, and it’s near public transportation. “We also wanted a place that was unassuming and less scary for our patients,” Jacobi says.
In the first week alone, more than 5,000 people have called or come by asking for more information including whether they can get the drug at their location. “We are not a dispensary,” Jacobi quickly clarifies. If the number of calls she’s receiving is any indication of need, the 60 dispensaries, whose locations have yet to be revealed by the state of Illinois, will not be able to initially accommodate the demand, she says.
While Good Intentions does not dispense the drug, under Illinois law, clinics like hers can help patients begin a relationship with a physician. Once the law takes effect on January 1, patients suffering from 42 illnesses including cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, Crohn’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, fibrous dysplasia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and lupus, among others, may be eligible for medical marijuana treatment.
How Does It Work?
The clinic asks patients to bring with them a list of diagnoses, available medical records and $99 for the registration fee during their first appointment. Upon arrival, the patient is asked to complete a seven-page form that will be reviewed by the doctor. Based on that review, a second visit may take place at a cost of $149 to the patient, wherein the doctor will give the patient a physical examination. If medical marijuana is recommended to the patient, follow-up visits for personal physical examinations will then be required throughout treatment. If the patient does not follow up, the doctor will contact the state and withdraw his or her recommendation for the patient’s use of marijuana. All follow-up costs are $99 each.
Alderman Joe Moreno is happy to see another storefront filled with a unique and independent business, for which his First Ward is known. “Like any other type of medical clinic or business that opens in our community, [Good Intentions] will bring a diverse group of people into our community, and that’s a good thing.”
Adam Burck, executive director of the Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce, agrees that having a business fill a vacant space is good for the community, but, he says the intended use must abide by all regulations and not present any serious conflicts with surrounding uses.
The fact that the building has advertising rights to an overhead billboard with Kennedy Expressway visibility might have been another draw for the location choice, which will, no doubt, bring more traffic to the area in general. As of right now, the clinic doesn’t have any flashy signs, but it appears that media coverage and word of mouth is keeping the first clinic of its kind in the entire city busy for now.
Good Intentions is located at 1723 N. Ashland Ave. (and the Kennedy Expressway).