First Social Equity Cannabis Retailers Open in Chicago

The first two social equity cannabis retailers in Chicago have opened for business in the last week.

Full story after the jump.

Illinois’ first two social equity retailers have opened in Chicago, CBS Chicago reports.

The leadership team for Bucktown’s Ivy Hall Damen is 61% Black, while the management and ownership team at Green Rose Dispensary in River North are two-thirds Black and Latinx. The businesses are the first cannabis retailers in the state that are not mostly white-owned, the report says. 

Nigel Dandridge, co-founder and chief strategy officer for Ivy Hall Damen, said when the industry first opened up in the state, members of his company didn’t see anyone in their community “benefiting, or even being able to participate.”

“So it was kind of hypocritical. I think it’s important that we can show you what we’re doing. We want everyone to benefit. Our staff’s been working hard, and we’re just excited to share it with everyone.” — Dandridge to CBS Chicago

Green Rose management told CBS Chicago that the company has “been able to attract top talent from some of Illinois’ largest multi-state operators” because of their “vision, energy, and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.” 

Although cannabis went on sale in Illinois in 2020 and the law that ushered in the change included social equity provisions, many of those who were most affected by the war on drugs have found it hard to get started in the Illinois cannabis market. Lawsuits over the lottery for issuing social equity licenses have also delayed the process.

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