WRIGLEYVILLE — Sunnyside Lakeview opened its new, 10,000-square-foot dispensary in Wrigleyville Monday after relocating from its old spot a few blocks north.
Sunnyside Lakeview, a dispensary owned by Chicago-based cannabis giant Cresco Labs, opened early Monday at 3524 N. Clark St., a large building formerly occupied by the John Barleycorn bar.
The dispensary is about 400 feet from Wrigley Field, making it the closest cannabis dispensary in the country to a national sports stadium, according to Cresco.
The company has sought to relocate to the larger digs for two years, but it was blocked by a state law that did not allow existing medical marijuana dispensaries to relocate after they were converted to dual-use dispensaries — selling medical and recreational weed — when recreational sales began in January 2020.
An amendment approved this summer to the state law cleared that hiccup, allowing dual-use dispensaries to relocate within the same geographic boundary tied to its medical license.
Before relocating, Sunnyside Lakeview had spent five years operating out of a smaller store at 3812 N. Clark St. It opened as a medical dispensary before recreational marijuana was legal in Illinois.
But the space was only 900 square feet, so it struggled to accommodate the demand of recreational marijuana use when that became legal in 2020, Jason Erkes, chief communications officer for Cresco Labs said during a September community meeting.
Without much room at its storefront, Sunnyside has had to rent space across the street where people can check in before being directed in small groups to the dispensary to pay and pick up their orders, Erkes said.
But the new store just south of Addison Street is big enough to host the entire process in one building. It features 21 registers compared to the three at its previous store.
During an October presentation before the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals, Cresco CEO Charlie Bachtell estimated moving to the larger location will bring in an extra $4.5 million in tax revenue for the state in 2022.
The pot shop will be open 9 a.m.-9 p.m. daily, and customers will be able to order inside the store or pre-order online before making the purchase at the store.
Workers at the current Sunnyside Lakeview location voted to unionize in 2020 and have since reached a contract with the company. That contract and unionized workforce will carry over to the new location, Erkes said.
The union vote was solely for the specific dispensary and did not affect other dispensaries the company owns. It operates dispensaries across Illinois and nine other states. The company is traded on the Canadian stock exchange.
Bachtell said the company’s current Wrigleyville dispensary location will be converted into a learning facility to train newly minted minority-owned companies in a dispensary environment.The training facility will not be permitted to handle or sell cannabis. The company did not give a firm timeline on when it would open.
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