Ex-Bears QB McMahon helps Cary marijuana shop celebrate grand opening

The intersection at Northwest Highway and East Main Street was bustling with people Saturday afternoon for the grand opening of Vertical Dispensary, Cary's first recreational marijuana dispensary.

For the many who came wearing Chicago Bears jerseys and holding footballs, the draw was a chance to meet Super Bowl-winning quarterback Jim McMahon, who was signing autographs during the event.

Vertical, at 20 Northwest Highway, is one of four marijuana dispensaries in McHenry County, with RISE in Lake in the Hills, Ivy Hall in Crystal Lake and Spark'd in Richmond. EarthMed in McHenry and another Spark'd location in Crystal Lake are set to open later this fall.

McMahon was there to promote the marijuana brand Revenant, which he co-founded with former NFL players Kyle Turley and Eben Britton. Revenant CEO Mike Lankford said he was inspired by McMahon's message that marijuana gave his life back.

At one point, McMahon was prescribed 100 pills of oxycodone a month for chronic pain he developed from football injuries, Lankford said. Marijuana helped McMahon manage his pain without the addictive side effects opioids have.

"This is a solution and opioids are not," Lankford said.

A goal for Revenant is to have its products sold in all 23 states that have legalized recreational marijuana use, something that hasn't been done by any other marijuana brand, Lankford said.

While recreational marijuana has brought added revenue to the county, which is expected to take in $1 million in Cannabis Consumer Excise Tax revenue in 2023, not everyone is supportive.

McHenry County State's Attorney Pat Kenneally last month threatened to sue dispensaries that don't post mental health warnings. Vertical Dispensary has received a letter from the state's attorney's office, and Kenneally said he would start negotiations soon.

"In our opinion, examples of promoting overconsumption and/or therapeutic claims would include any statement that cannabis product is medicine or treats, alleviates, helps with, is good for, or is used by those with a medical or emotional condition," Vertical Dispensary Development Director Anthony Rein wrote in a prepared response.

The dispensary has no further updates or comment on the matter, Rein said Saturday.

Rein said that he's proud of the turn out for being a "small ma and pop business."

"As much as we're working with the big leagues, we're still a small operation," Rein said. "We just roll up our sleeves and make it happen."

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