Local dispensary receives license to sell recreational marijuana

ROCKFORD, Ill (WIFR) -- Starting January 1, 2020, recreational marijuana will be available throughout Illinois including Rockford.

"It wasn't a real surprise for me that Mapleglen received their license,” said Alderperson Joe Chiarelli.

The Mapleglen Care Center operates one of Rockford’s licensed medical cannabis dispensaries. Now with an okay from the state the company will expand its business to recreational marijuana.

"The calls have been excited, people are excited, and we hope to not disappoint,” said Mapleglen Chief Operation Officer Amy Manganelli.

Manganelli says the plan is to operate like two separate businesses.

"so, there will be separate entrances, separate checkout lines, separate waiting rooms,” said Manganelli.

Rockford's support she says makes this transition easier.

"We've been preparing for this for a long time. We've got a construction company, cord construction is doing all our retrofitting and renovations,” Manganelli said.

But first, Manganelli urges the community to get educated about cannabis.

"They should be careful it's a powerful product,” Manganelli said.

Rockford approved a 3 percent sales tax for all adult-use cannabis sales. Chiarelli says the added revenue will be a boost for the city.

"The police department and other sources of departments if they need any revenue that we make sure they get that,” Chiarelli said.

"We are happy to pay it. Rockford has been really a wonderful community for us to operate in,” Manganelli said.

Once January hits anyone 21 or older living in Illinois can possess up to 30 grams of cannabis and anyone visiting can possess up to 15 grams of marijuana at a time.