Illinois’ first social equity marijuana dispensary opens in Chicago – CBS Chicago

CHICAGO (CBS) — The first social equity marijuana dispensary in Illinois has opened its doors in Chicago.

Ivy Hall Damen, in Bucktown, opened Monday, and its ownership team is 61% Black.

Recreational marijuana use and sales have been legal in Illinois since the start of 2020, but until now, every dispensary that has opened in Illinois has been operated by ownership teams that are mostly white.

Even though the law legalizing recreational marijuana in Illinois included so-called “social equity” licenses set aside for businesses led by minorities, who were hardest hit by the war on drugs, those applicants found it difficult to actually break into the industry.

Lawsuits over the lottery for minority marijuana business owners led to years of delays in actually issuing those licenses.

This past September, advocates and state lawmakers gathered in the West Loop, calling on Gov. JB Pritzker and state regulators to cut the red tape and help business owners get those social equity cannabis licenses.

On Monday, Ivy Hall Damen became the first of such minority-owned dispensary to open in Illinois.

Ivy Hall Damen will have a variety of products, including edibles and vaporizers.

Co-founder and chief strategy officer Nigel Dandridge explained why Monday’s opening is so important.

“We’ve been

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