Chicago Cannabis: Green Rose Opens at Former Carson’s Ribs Site in River North
GRI appears to be the first recipient of the 185 new dispensary licenses granted over the summer to open a store. This comes nearly three years after the state began allowing recreational marijuana sales. One of its main goals was social equity or diversification of cannabis industry ownership by helping black and brown entrepreneurs obtain licenses. The state says Ivy Hall is 61% black-owned. GRI ownership is 15% Latino and 2.5% Black.
The GRI has come under scrutiny for meeting social equity requirements by hiring at least 10 workers who have been arrested or convicted of minor marijuana offenses or who live in areas deemed disproportionately affected. by the war on drugs. Activists have called this loophole the “slave master clause”. Applicants could also gain social equity status if they majority belonged to people who had been arrested or convicted for possession of marijuana, or whose family members had been; or who had resided in disproportionately affected neighborhoods.
Licensees have six months to find store locations, per state guidelines. And they are scrambling to find financing and get their stores built, facing shortages of equipment and materials, a tight market for contractors and rising financing costs.
The 5,000-square-foot Green Rose store will compete with nearby marijuana outlets operated by Cresco Labs, Ascend and PharmaCann, in what has become one of the premier retail outlets for cannabis dispensaries . GRI received zoning approval from the city in July for the store.
GRI spent over $2.5 million to build the store.
“It’s a unique design and color palette,” says Wheeler. “He has the ability to feel comfortable. It’s not tight. I think it changes the perception of what a dispensary looks like. It’s bright, cheerful and comfortable.
Other licensees work on sites in the city and in the suburbs. The City of Chicago has approved three sites in addition to Green Rose.