News and notes from the cannabis industry, curated and crafted for high-minded professionals in the Midwest and beyond. 

NuEra and Dispensary 33 get green light for recreational locations in Chicago 

While many dispensary owners are rebooting their Chicago expansion plans for mellower zoning environs in the burbs, two dispensaries this week were given approval to locate within 1,500 feet of each other in Chicago’s West Loop Fulton Market restaurant district. 

Wheaton-based NuEra, which operates dispensaries in Urbana, East Peoria and Chicago along with a cultivation center in Hillcrest, and Dispensary 33, which in 2015 opened Chicago’s first medical dispensary in the Andersonville neighborhood, will now have competing recreational locations across the street from one another. 

As Crain’s Chicago Business reported, the Randolph Street competition was made possible in part due to a pro-industry alderman who said dispensaries in Illinois will eventually be as ubiquitous as liquor stores

Similar efforts to open recreational dispensaries in the downtown Gold Coast nightlife district have failed to date, and faced well-organized objections on behalf of the neighborhood association. Citywide, it’s unclear which neighborhood will welcome the next new dispensary.  And when that will happen is anybody’s guess. 

Multiple suburban municipalities are making it clear to dispensary owners that their businesses and accompanying tax revenue, however, could not be more welcome. Expect announcements soon. 

Missouri Independent Medical Cannabis Association courts dispensaries and manufactures 

The Missouri Independent Cannabis Association was created earlier this year by longtime industry consultant and advocate John Payne to serve cannabis companies in the state that do not have the license to cultivate. 

As Payne laid out Friday in a post on cannabis industry publication MO Greenway, the thirty members of his organization bandied together to create greater buying power and secure more reliable access to inventory as Missouri ramps up its medical program. Currently, only nine of 16 cultivation licenses have commenced, with nine of those owned by vertically integrated companies. 

“This creates an incentive for lower wholesale prices and consistent, timely deliveries of product, and the same is true for a wide array of ancillary services as well,” he wrote.

Holistic Industries and Alternative RX fund fund cultural development in Madison Heights 

As it completes development of a $20 million cannabis “Super Center” in Madison Heights just north of Detroit, Potomac, Maryland-based multi-state operator Holistic Industries is teaming up with local dispensary Alternative to fund community art and nature projects that were suspended at the onset of Covid-19.

This week the town unveiled the “Nature’s Repose” mural at a community park. Previous contributions went to fund Arbor Day tree planting events.

Holistic’s Super Center, scheduled to open in the spring, will include 65,000 square feet of cultivation space along with manufacturing operations and a retail location. The company anticipates hiring more than 100 employees.

Madison Heights community manager Melissa Marsh told The Royal Oak Tribune that she anticipates that Holistic and Alternative RX will each donate $25,000 plus one percent of profits to community initiatives.

PharmaCann donates $100,000 to Olive-Harvey College to fund cannabis continuing education programs

Chicago-based PharmaCann recently announced a $100,000 donation to Olive-Harvey College. Part of the City Colleges of Chicago Community College System, Olive-Harvey based on Chicago’s far South Side offers courses on cannabis operations in retail and transportation.

This regulated industry will be built through public-private partnership, and working together with Olive-Harvey we look forward to helping support the education of the next generation of leaders,“ said Katie Leander, Manager, Social Equity and Community Impact for PharmaCann.

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Brad Spirrison is a journalist, serial entrepreneur and media ecologist. He lives in Chicago with his son. Interests include music, meditation and Miles Davis.