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1st recreational-only marijuana dispensary among 9 new licenses announced day before legalization

Rise dispensary in west suburban Joliet will be the first in the state allowed to exclusively sell only to recreational users.

Products in a display case Tuesday afternoon in the main shopping room of The Herbal Care Center dispensary at 1301 S. Western Ave.
Products in a display case Tuesday afternoon in the main shopping room of The Herbal Care Center dispensary at 1301 S. Western Ave.
Brian Ernst/Sun-Times

State regulators announced Tuesday they have granted Illinois’ first license for a stand-alone recreational marijuana dispensary, as well as eight new recreational licenses for business that were previously permitted to sell medical marijuana.

Rise dispensary in west suburban Joliet will be the first in the state allowed to sell exclusively to recreational users, according to a statement from the state’s Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

That “secondary site” license was issued to Green Thumb Industries, a leading River North-based pot company that operates multiple dispensaries and cultivation centers across the state.

Green Thumb Industries announced last week it planned to rename all of its adult-use cannabis dispensaries to bring them under the company’s national Rise brand.

The eight other new permits were announced as the latest round of “same site” licenses, which allow dispensaries that were previously approved to sell medical marijuana to also now sell cannabis products to adults 21 and older who want to indulge recreationally.

The eight new “same site” licenses announced Tuesday were: Windy City Cannabis Club locations in Homewood, Justice, Worth and Posen; Thrive dispensaries in Anna and Harrisburg; Greenhouse Group in Morris; and Trinity Compassionate Care Center in Peoria.

The latest license approvals, only a day before the state’s prohibition of recreational marijuana goes up in smoke, bring to 46 the total number of dispensaries allowed to sell recreational marijuana in the state. Of the state’s 55 existing medical shops, 10 still haven’t been licensed to also start selling recreational weed, including GreenGate Chicago in Rogers Park.

While Rise Joliet intends to open Wednesday, it’s unclear how many of the other dispensaries will be open and selling recreational pot when those sales kick off.

Lines at dispensaries, some of which will open as early as 6 a.m., are expected to be long on Wednesday, the first day of legal recreational marijuana in the state.

An additional 75 licenses to sell recreational marijuana will be issued in the coming months, officials said.