I have heard from many patients that the Shelbyville County Community Services (SCCS) medical cannabis products are absolutely outstanding. Their line of goods is regarded as some of the best medicine available at Illinois dispensaries. I had no idea that they have been providing mental health and rehabilitation services for the past 40 years in Shelbyville County in southern lllinois. Running a cultivation center for the IL MCPP is just another service they recently added to their repertoire. With the passing of HB-708, The Community Mental Health Act, in 1968, plans began for the establishment of a mental health center in Shelbyville. By 1978, the center had been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).
“Assisting persons with disabilities is what we have been doing since the late 1960s. Over the years we have become very creative in providing jobs for these individuals, integrating them with community workers” says long time SCCS employee, Kathy Austin Readnour. She has worked at SCCS in HR, Compliance, and as a Case Manager for those with disabilities.
Some of the many services they offer are:
- Respite Services
- Activity Center Program/Drop-In
- Residential Services
- Developmental Training
- Outpatient Mental Health Services
- DUI and Substance Abuse Services
- Manufacturing and Production Facilities
- Greenhouse Facilities
In 1991, they built the first 4 greenhouses. They more recently added 4 more permanent and 2 temporary greenhouses. In the spring months, they grow assorted varieties of annual bedding plants, vegetables, hanging baskets, combination flower pots and perennials. In the fall, they have assorted varieties of mums and asters and in the winter, they grow assorted varieties of poinsettias. Growing medical cannabis plants seemed like a great way to supplement their much needed income source. In 2015, they were thrilled to win the only medical cannabis cultivation permit in District 10. They have a 23, 750 SF grow facility outside of town. Kudos to Tom Colclasure, Executive Director, and Nikki Furrer, his “right hand woman,” for making SCCS medical cannabis products a huge success. Nikki provided the expertise in deciding which strains to grow and which growing practices were best to provide the highest quality plants. The head grower was able to make the leap quite easily from flowers and vegetables to cannabis plants.
SCCS had relied heavily on state and local funding for the programs. With the fiscal disaster in Illinois, medical cannabis sales are currently funding many of their already established programs. The more severely disabled workers are employed at the main location in Shelbyville. Their job is to fill pots with soil before the pots are sent to the grow facility. They require a lot of supervision and direction, so it is not exactly the most cost effective way to go about things. However, as Tom Colclasure points out, “the work provides people dignity. It gives them personal satisfaction and independence and it helps normalize them. Plus, they get funds to do what they want.”
Those higher functioning workers trim plants and do janitorial work at the grow facility. 40 part-time security guards are also employed at the grow facility. These are former city police officers and deputies who are members of the community. Currently, none of the workers is allowed to use medical cannabis. That may change, in the future.
I asked MCPP patients what they thought of SCCS medical cannabis products. Here are some of the responses I received:
- I LOVE their products…topical bar, painkiller #3 and Sweet Relief Oil
- Pre-rolled Cuvee and Painkiller were nothing short of amazing
- I love the CBN pennies!
- Their Shangri-La strain is awesome!
- If you are wanting CBD, there is none better than SCCS in Illinois
- As a Patient Consultant and Educator, SCCS is top of my list for medical grade quality, dynamic high CBD oils, bud and consumables. My go-to for so many of my patients is the infamous and phenomonal Hurkle Oil as a baseline. SCCS meets and beats as a progressive medical cannabis leader in Illinois.
- A Chicago area based dispensary team was invited to Shelbyville to visit this summer. It would have meant a 4 hour drive. The idea was for the visiting team to be trimmers for the day. In return each agent that participated would receive an ounce to distribute to those in need. The state wouldn’t allow the trimming, but SCCS is still shipping them the medicine after they come.