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As the COVID-19 pandemic causes Illinois residents to shelter in their homes, many businesses are offering curbside and delivery services to minimize exposure to the novel coronavirus for both customers and staff.

According to Eric Sweatt, chief executive officer of Medical Cannabis Outreach and the CBD Stores, Medical Cannabis Outreach has offered curbside service in the past, and The CBD Store has delivered to customers. With the outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States, those previously optional services have become a necessity.

Because of this virus, we don’t want anybody in our building,” said Sweatt. “The doctor can see (patients) through the passenger side window. We have a spot in the front of our building where people can just come right up. We’ll have all your paperwork ready and we have a parking spot across the street where people can go and fill out their paperwork, or go have lunch at Hardee’s (if they’re still open), call us and come back, kind of like a drive-through service.”

Sweatt added that residents applying for medical cannabis cards will be able to do so through the Medical Cannabis Outreach curbside service. Prospective patients must make appointments and Medical Cannabis Outreach staff will inform them as to the paperwork they will need to bring with them.

“The majority of our business is new patients,” he said.

State law prohibits Medical Cannabis Outreach from delivering cannabis to patients, according to Sweatt. However, there is no such restriction on delivery of cannabidiol (CBD) products to CBD Store customers. Sweatt is planning to deliver CBDs within a 25-mile radius of the Pekin store, and may expand that radius depending on demand.

“If I get ten people ordering from Chillicothe, guess what I’m doing?” Sweatt asked. “I’m going to go ahead and send somebody to Chillicothe.”

Customers from outside of the area can also order products from The CBD Store online and receive them in the mail, Sweatt added. While there has been little demand to date for The CBD Store’s delivery service, he expects the coronavirus pandemic to be something of a potential game-changer in that regard.

“We have maybe 50 to 80 people come (into The CBD Store) every week,” he said. “I anticipate the delivery will be 25 percent of that, if not more. Some people don’t know we’re doing delivery. (Customers) will pay for it online and my people will deliver and call the (customer) to let them know it’s on their porch. Then when they come out to pick it up, they’ll wave at them to confirm they got it. We’re not just going to put it on the porch and leave.”

Sweatt did not seem concerned about running out of supplies during the pandemic, noting that he is able to offer a 25 percent discount on CBDs and may offer larger discounts in the coming months.

“We have our own label and we work with several farmers,” Sweatt said. “We have more than enough.”

CBD supplies have been reliable enough that Sweatt has been offering free samples both at The CBD Store and at Medical Cannabis Outreach, he said. He has offered the samples at Medical Cannabis Outreach in an effort to encourage prospective medical cannabis patients to try CBDs first.

(People) can take CBDs for a lot of ailments, whether for (insomnia), or pain, or cancer,” Sweatt explained. “I had somebody call me the other day who said ‘Hey, I heard you helped a doctor in Wisconsin.’ (The doctor’s) mother-in-law had cancer. We gave her CBDs a year ago and she doesn’t have cancer anymore. She didn’t get chemotherapy or anything. She just did our CBDs. Those stories are what are helping us. People are still apprehensive about what it can do for them. When they hear that it’s helped somebody close to them, then they’re like ‘All right, maybe I should try it.’”

For more information on Medical Cannabis Outreach, visit medicalcannabisoutreach.com. More information on The CBD Store is available at thecbdstorecompany.com.

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