CHAMPAIGN — Adults will be able to purchase recreational marijuana — legally — without leaving the city limits come Jan. 1.
With less than three months until Illinois becomes the 11th state where recreational marijuana is legal, the applications of six more cannabis dispensaries were approved this week, including one at the existing medical-marijuana dispensary in Champaign.
The license means that Phoenix Botanical, 1704 S. Neil St., will become “a dual-purpose dispensary — both medical and adult-use,” said Jason Erkes, spokesman for Cresco Labs, which owns the Champaign business.
The 55 existing medical-marijuana dispensaries statewide have first dibs on the new licenses. The first five were granted in August, with the closest among those being in Effingham.
The area’s other medical-cannabis dispensary — NuMed in Urbana — is also seeking a license to sell recreational marijuana.
“We are planning on opening an adult-use dispensary,” said Tina Clayton, the agent in charge of the shop at 105 E. University Ave.
With the approval of Phoenix Botanical, each of Cresco Labs’ five existing dispensaries in Illinois is now licensed to sell recreational marijuana.
As part of a national rebranding, Phoenix Botanical will change its name to Sunnyside.
The new brand aims to make marijuana more approachable, with a bright aesthetic and education for new consumers.
The state has also opened up applications for 75 brand-new dispensaries, which will be awarded by May 1, 2020.
Only one will be allowed in the area covering Champaign, Ford and Piatt counties; one covering McLean and DeWitt counties; two covering Douglas, Coles, Edgar, Iroquois and 10 other East Central Illinois counties; and one for Vermilion County.
As the state processes dispensary applications, city councils and village boards across Illinois are deciding where those businesses can be located and how much sales will be taxed.
Champaign is expecting an additional $625,000 to $955,000 in annual revenue, and Urbana could see another $275,000 to $550,000.