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Medical Marijuana Could Mean Big Money For Illinois Residents

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Dorothy Tucker Dorothy Tucker
Dorothy Tucker has served as a reporter for CBS 2 Chicago since 1984....
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(CBS) — Before you know it, selling weed in Illinois will be legal as the state’s medical marijuana law takes effect in January. It’s expected to rake in $60 million the first year. Dorothy Tucker reports on the many ways you can cash in.

Seven days a week, 11 hours every day weed is measured, weighed and sold for cash at the Releaf Medical Marijuana dispensary in Denver.

One customer says, “Today we paid about $55.” Another customer says he spends, “$60 to $80 a week.”

700 patients regularly shop there spending up to $400 for two ounces. Larry Stevenson is the owner. He says about his business.

“We do very well,” Stevenson.

According to industry experts 42 percent of Colorado dispensaries have yearly revenues that top $500,000.

Owning a dispensary is the most public way to make money selling marijuana, but there are others.

Zack Maas says, “We have seven different rooms.”

Somebody like Maas has to grow the weed.

Illinois will have 22 grow houses. Michael Frobuck, a general contractor from Addison hopes to own one.

When asked how much money he thinks he might be able to make? He answers “Millions. Not right away, but eventually.”

“On average these rooms produce about 12 to 14 pounds of marijuana,” said Zack Maas.

As much as $40,000 a month in sales and close to half a million a year.

Most employees make about $40,000, some with only a high school diploma. Other positions require degrees in agriculture, biochemistry, industrial engineering and pay much more.

“We have plants that are 8 1/2 weeks,” said Kristi Kelly.

She runs a grow center out of an old office building.

Kelly says, “We’ve got a full time construction person on staff. Plus we have electricians.”

The industry also creates business for insurance agents, lawyers and security firms. Steve Kilts’ company CannLabs tests marijuana for potency and safety.

“We will be coming to Illinois. We’re partnering with some folks out there to set up a testing facility,” said Kilts.

Also eyeing Illinois is Love’s Oven, making marijuana edibles.

“It’s the green rush… everybody and their brother wants a part of the business right now,” said Hannah O’Rourke.

Here’s another example of how you can make money: There are a number of magazines devoted to the marijuana industry. Someone gets paid to write the articles, print the magazine, make the ads and sell the ads. There’s a lot of money to be made off weed.

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