Edgeville Buzz

Andersonville Store Approved For First Legal Recreational Pot Sales

Andersonville’s Dispensary 33 at 5001 N. Clark has been anticipating the change in Illinois law to allow for the sales of recreational marijuana for the past year. Expanding their customer area, display counters and the number of staff, the store was one of three businesses to officially be approved for the sales at the start of the new year.

On January 1 at 9 a.m. in the morning, Dispensary 33 will open their doors to the public in order to sell marijuana products such as dry flower, pre-rolled joints, edibles, and vape pens to recreational users. The Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, which was passed on May 31, 2019 by the Illinois General Assembly, opened the doors to legal sales.

After medical marijuana was approved for legal Illinois sales in 2013, Dispensary 33 was officially the first retailer to open in Chicago offering patients a dedicated storefront to buy the products. The tightly controlled system that was put in place at that time has eased up greatly and allowed for legal recreational use.

The new law (HB 1438) set guidelines to allow existing medical marijuana cultivators and dispensaries to begin selling cannabis to those 21 and over in limited amounts. Illinois residents can purchase up to 30 grams of marijuana plant material, 500mg of THC edibles, and five grams of concentrate products. Non-residents will be able to buy only half those amounts.

“Our store is going to become very high volume very quickly,” said Abigail Watkins, Director of Marketing and Patient Outreach at Dispensary 33. “We have been staffing up and doing extra training for our staff the past few months. We’ve redesigned the inside of our dispensary to expand our retail counter and double the amount of space available to display our products.”

Since opening their doors in 2015, Dispensary 33 has stood out by offering a bright, welcoming retail space and a highly trained staff (also known as budtenders) which are familiar with the types of cannabis products they sell and the cultivators. In the Reader’s Best of Chicago poll results, the public voted the store as best medical cannabis dispensary, best place to buy CBD products, and best smoke shop.

 “We were the first dispensary in Chicago to open and we’re one of the only independently owned dispensaries left in the city,” Watkins added. “Our staff is very diverse and represents a whole host of cannabis lovers. I think what makes us unique is the robust training our staff goes through. Our staff studies our menu diligently and goes through hours of training to learn the science behind cannabis and how to make recommendations to our patients before hitting the retail floor as a budtender.”

Since the beginning, owners Bryan Zises and Zachary Zises envisioned Dispensary 33 to sell the highest quality marijuana and offer knowledgable service. Dedicated to education, customers can learn about each cultivator and each step in production. But the duo also saw legal pot sales as a valuable tool in the opioid crisis fight.

“I’ve always been an issues and social justice oriented person,” said Bryan Zises. “I worked for 10 years in public housing. I viewed medical cannabis as an opportunity to counter the opioid epidemic because I know the value that decriminalization and helping people get off opioids will have on our community.”


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