Yesterday, Chicago-based Cresco Labs celebrated the grand-opening of its new 10,000-square-foot Sunnyside Wrigleyville location
While the pandemic has been disastrous for many industries including the airline, restaurant and hotel industries, the cannabis industry in Illinois continues to flourish. In 2020 alone, the state’s sales of cannabis products exceeded $660 million. This year, Illinois total sales reached $1.12 billion in the first ten months of the year. Recorded sales in October alone of recreational pot was over $123 million according to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. Sales would undoubtedly be even higher if not for a Cook County court order blocking 185 dispensaries from being issued licensed permits despite them winning the state’s licensing lottery ending in August.
Now, a brand new 100,000-square-foot cannabis facility built by Chicago-based Cresco Labs has opened at 3524 N. Clark St., formerly the site of the John Barleycorn bar. It is the closest dispensary to a national sports stadium in the U.S. as it’s located merely 400 feet away from Chicago’s Wrigley Field.
Cresco Labs had previously attempted to move to a larger building for two years but was blocked by a narrow reading of an Illinois state law that doesn’t permit existing medical marijuana facilities to change locations once they are converted to dual use facilities that dispenses both medical and recreational cannabis.
Once recreational weed was legalized in Illinois, Cresco Labs old facility often had people waiting in line to purchase their products for seven hours. Since there was limited store front footage, the company had to rent space across the street where customers would check in after which they were placed in small groups and allowed to move to the dispensary to pick up their orders and pay.
However, an amendment to the state law passed during summer got rid of the dual use facility problem, permitting them to relocate provided it is in the same geographical law cleared that hiccup, allowing dual-use dispensaries to relocate within the same geographic borders associate with its medical license.
Cresco officials said they expect to be able to process orders for 2,000 customers a day at the new facility. They were able to accommodate only 1,200 a day at their previous location. The new building boasts 21 registers compared to three at the old facility.
“It’s exciting to gain unanimous support for moving our Lakeview Sunnyside to a much larger and more optimized location,” said Cresco Communications Director,Jason Erkes.
Joseph Caltabiano, president of the Cresco Labs stated, “This will be one of the largest dispensaries in the world and Chicago has the opportunity to have that and employ people from all walks of life in that store.”