Verilife recreational marijuana dispensary opens in Rosemont

What once was a shuttered piano bar took on new life Saturday as recreational marijuana dispensary Verilife, which opened in Rosemont with the hopes of reaping the benefits of a new industry growing despite the pandemic.

About 50 people, mostly employees and dignitaries, gathered in the warm February sun for the short ceremony and ribbon cutting.

Nestled between the AMC movie theater and iFly indoor sky diving venue, Verilife is "in the open, but discreet enough," Mayor Brad Stephens said.

"I don't think it screams, 'Come get high,'" he said. "The world has evolved to the point of having it be acceptable."

The new store is located in the prominent Parkway Bank Park Entertainment District, a 200,000-square-foot complex east of the Tri-State Tollway.

The Rosemont board's unanimous vote to approve the dispensary didn't include the absent Trustee Jack Dorgan, a registered lobbyist for PharmaCann, the parent company of Verilife.

The village stands to make at least $600,000 a year from its 3% local tax on Verilife's sales, according to a company estimate. Similar revenues could be seen from another recreational marijuana shop, EarthMed at 10441 W. Touhy Ave., which the board granted special use approval in August and opened in January after five months of interior renovations.

The entertainment district shop will be the fifth in Illinois for PharmaCann, which operates 14 dispensaries and has about another dozen under development in six states. The firm also operates five cultivation centers, including one in downstate Dwight, which also ships product to its stores in Arlington Heights, North Aurora, Ottawa and Romeoville.

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  Mayor Brad Stephens with giant scissors helps Verilife Rosemont celebrate a grand opening Saturday in Rosemont. Brian Hill/
  Mayor Brad Stephens, center in suit, helps Verilife celebrate its grand opening in a former piano bar Saturday in Rosemont. About 50 people attended the grand opening of the second recreational cannabis shop in Rosemont's entertainment district. Brian Hill/
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