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Chicago Welcomes its First Cannabis Dispensary

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Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times

Dispensary 33 opened its doors Monday, making it Chicago’s first cannabis collective. Dispensary 33 co-owners Zach Zises and Paul Lee decided to hold a ribbon cutting ceremony over the weekend plus an open house for dignitaries last Monday.

“We love this area,” said Dispensary 33’s manager, Paul Lee. “We knew the community would be very accepting of us. We worked with the community to make sure they are okay with us being here. We wanted to show the people what we’re doing and be very transparent. This area is probably the best areas in Chicago for a cannabis dispensary, Lee explained. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, over 900 patients came in for both events.

Illinois’ four year pilot program for medical cannabis allows for 60 dispensaries and 18 cultivation centers. Per the program’s law, patients are only allowed to purchase from dispensaries that they selected during the medical cannabis registration process. Dispensary 33 follows five other Illinois dispensaries that opened across the state on Nov. 9.

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Co-owners Zach Zises (left) and Paul Lee (right) | Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times

While the exciting news surrounding Dispensary 33 has Illinois buzzing already, the show won’t actually be dispersing cannabis product for a few more weeks as they await their license to arrive.

“These dispensaries are safe,” said Caprice Sweat of Medical Cannabis Outreach. “They are wellness centers. We feel good when we walk in here. They are safe for the community. The citizens of Andersonville and Chicago severely need this facility,” she explained to CBS Chicago.

Sweat is a patient herself. “I suffer from Crohn’s disease and it debilitated me. Someone said try cannabis, and I stopped taking all of the medications. Medical cannabis absolutely changed my life. I’m a mother, a grandmother, I travel, I run several businesses all while medicated on cannabis and not taking one narcotic. I feel from my soul for every patient that comes here.”

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