6 more medical pot shops granted licenses to sell recreational marijuana

Five of the licenses were issued to dispensaries operated by Cresco Labs, a major River North-based pot firm that operates in multiple states.

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Packaged marijuana flowers at the Floramedex medical marijuana dispensary in Elmwood Park, Thursday, June 20th, 2019.

James Foster/For the Sun-Times

State officials announced Wednesday that six more medical marijuana dispensaries have been granted approval to start selling recreational pot when sales kick off at the start of next year.

Cresco Labs, a River North company that operates in multiple states, was awarded licenses Tuesday to dole out recreational weed at its five current medical dispensaries: FloraMedex in Elmwood Park; PDI Medical in Buffalo Grove; Phoenix Botanical in Champaign and a pair of MedMar locations in Rockford and Lake View. Mapleglen Care Center, another Rockford pot clinic, was also awarded a license to become a dual-use dispensary, according to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

Last month, Cresco was granted licenses to grow recreational pot at its three existing Illinois cultivation centers, according to the Illinois Department of Agriculture. 

“Illinois is Cresco’s home state and with the transition to a legal adult-use market in January of 2020, the state is expected to produce between $2–4 billion in sales at maturity, making this one of the single largest opportunities in the U.S. cannabis space today,” Charlie Bachtell, Cresco’s co-founder and CEO, said in a statement. “Cresco is well-positioned to capture a significant share of this revenue opportunity for shareholders.”

The first five recreational licenses were issued in August to five medical shops operated by Green Thumb Industries, another leading cannabis company based in River North. 

One of those shops, the 3C Compassionate Care Center in Naperville, will only be serving medical patients come Jan. 1 after city officials voted to prohibit recreational sales last month. Naperville voters will however have the chance to weigh in on the ban when a referendum appears on the March 17 primary ballot, according to the Daily Herald.

A directive put forth by the IDFPR that prevents current medical pot shops from selling recreational marijuana if they relocate has further complicated the dispensary’s efforts to take advantage of the new pot law.

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