Illinois issues first two social-equity marijuana dispensary licenses – Chicago Tribune

Illinois has issued its first two social equity marijuana dispensary licenses, and at least one of them is expected to open by next week in Chicago’s River North area.

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Green Rose Dispensary is soon to open on the site of the old Carson’s Ribs restaurant at Ontario and Wells streets, one of the most prominent locations in the city. The state also issued a license to open to Ivy Hall, a boutique dispensary in Wicker Park, but it has not announced when it will open.

“We’re excited to open this dispensary,” said co-owner Thomas Wheeler Jr., a former Chicago police detective commander. “It’s elegant and unique.”

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The wealthy and connected owners of Green Rose — GRI Holdings, Inc., — also include restaurateur Phil Stefani and former CTA executive John Trotta. Consultants on the project were Ross Morreale, co-founder of downstate Ataraxia cultivation center, and Jay Steward, former head of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, which controls marijuana licensing for the state.

GRI qualified for the state’s social equity designation, which comes with bonus points for license applications, by hiring at least six employees who qualify for social equity by coming from neighborhoods with high rates of poverty or marijuana arrests, or

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