Northwest Side Press (Nadig Newspapers)
By Brian Nadig
August 19, 2016
Public tours of the area’s first medical marijuana dispensary, located at 4758 N. Milwaukee Ave., will be held in late August before it opens for patients on Tuesday, Sept. 6.
The tours will be the last opportunity for the general public to access to the dispensary. Once marijuana sales start, access will be restricted to those who have been issued a state medical marijuana card and who have chosen the Jefferson Park location as their designated dispensary, as patients cannot go to more than one dispensary.
Columbia Care Illinois will hold free tours from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 25, noon to 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 26, and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27. Improvements to the interior of the building, whose previous occupants have included a mortgage company and a telemarketer, were made several months ago, and the facade was renovated this month.
Last year the state Department of Financial and Professional Regulation approved a license for the site for Curative Health, but the facility is operating under the name “Columbia Care.” In addition to Illinois, Columbia Care operates dispensaries in New York, Arizona, California, Massachusetts and Washington D.C.
Columbia chief executive officer Nicholas Vita had the same title with Curative. At a community meeting in 2014, Vita said that the opening of his dispensary in Washington D.C. sparked a gentrification of the neighborhood and that he is in the marijuana business for medical purposes only and has no desire to sell the drug for recreational use.
Customers will be able to buy up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana every two weeks, and they will be required not to open packages from the dispensary until they are home.
A construction permit for a second Northwest Side dispensary was issued May 20 for the site of a former medical supply business at 6428-30 N. Milwaukee Ave. Union Group of Illinois will be operating that location.