The first social equity cannabis dispensaries in Illinois are now open

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The state is among the first to highlight social equity with its marijuana regulations

Located specifically in Chicago, the first two social equity cannabis dispensaries in Illinois have officially opened their doors. Focused on the recreational market, this pair of stores have begun operations to usher in a new script in the state’s history. They are the result of an effort to have a social equity-first adult-use marijuana market in the Prairie State.

According to several local media outlets, majority black-owned Hall Damen opened its doors Monday. A few days earlier, Green Rose Dispensary, whose “management team is two-thirds black and Latino” began welcoming all of its customers.

Legal adult-use cannabis sales in Illinois were launched in early 2020. Since then, each of the dispensaries that have begun operating has owners who are mostly white. Illinois has been making several efforts to change that landscape, and Ivy Hall Dame and Green Rose Dispensary are prime examples.

“We’ve been working to get a seat at the table for a while now, and we’re finally able to do that,” said Nigel Dandridge, the co-founder of Ivy Hall Damen said. “When this industry first opened up, we didn’t see anyone in our community benefiting, or even being able to participate. So, it was kind of hypocritical.”

At the state level, social equity programs have increasingly become a priority issue in marijuana markets. Many officials are clear about the importance of offering economic opportunities to all these communities that have been affected in some way by the prohibition of the plant.

Illinois was not far behind, especially after being criticized for not providing such licenses. After working day and night to put those criticisms behind it, it appears to be starting to get the desired results.