UPTOWN — In 2015, Dispensary33 recorded the first sale of medicinal marijuana in Chicago. Now, the Uptown dispensary is vying to do the same thing when recreational pot becomes legal next year.
Despensary33 at 5001 N. Clark St. has received its license to sell recreational marijuana when Illinois’ new pot law goes into effect on Jan. 1. The dispensary is one of only three Chicago shops to get a recreational sales permit so far, with one in Brighton Park and one in Lakeview also given the OK to sell legal pot.
Under Illinois’ new marijuana law, existing medical dispensaries were given the opportunity to apply for recreational sales licenses. Though the license was issued last week, Dispensary33 has been preparing for recreational pot sales for some time, with the store hiring more staff and expanding its retail counter to accommodate twice as many customers, said Abigail Watkins, marketing and outreach manager for the store.
“We’ve been trying to plan as much as we can,” Watkins said. “We’re excited and ready to open.”
Dispensary 33 will open at 9 a.m. on Jan. 1, the earliest they can open on the first day of recreational pot sales in Illinois. The shop is expecting big crowds, but they’ve had experience in dealing with a high volume of customers before.
That’s because Dispensary33 has helped organize the pot-friendly festival called The Waldo Forever Fest. Last year (on April 20, aka the pot holiday known as 4/20), the event drew as many as 6,000 participants to Clark Street in Uptown. It also made for a busy day at the dispensary, Watkins said.
“Our day on 4/20 is so high volume, we almost view that as practice,” she said.
Dispensary33 won’t be throwing a large-scale festival on Jan. 1, but it does have some things in the works for the day. Store officials said those details will be released later, but they mentioned that there will be plans to keep those waiting in line warm during the cold January weather.
“We do have plans to take care of everyone who wants to come to our business,” said Scott Cramer, marketing consultant for the dispensary.
While Dispensary33 officials said they expect the city’s two other recreational pot shops to open early on Jan. 1 as well, they are hoping they can record the first recreational sale in the city.
“Hopefully we record the first one to keep the streak going,” Watkins said.