Recreational pot dispensary opens in Villa Park
Sales have begun at the first recreational cannabis dispensary in Villa Park.
Columbia Care at 133 Roosevelt Road launched its soft opening this week and plans to have a ribbon cutting at 8:30 a.m. Monday. An official grand opening is slated for Oct. 2.
"So far, it's been great," said Drew Bayly, the market director for Columbia Care Illinois. "We're tremendously thankful and excited to be in Villa Park -- to get to know the community."
Columbia Care is a New York-based multinational company with licenses to grow, manufacture and sell cannabis in select states that have legalized medicinal and recreational marijuana. Columbia Care also operates a 32,000-square-foot cultivation and manufacturing facility in Aurora.
Villa Park is Columbia Care's second Illinois dispensary. It was preceded by a medicinal dispensary that opened in Chicago's Jefferson Park neighborhood in 2016. The Chicago location also obtained a license for recreational sales, which began Jan. 1.
But the Villa Park Columbia Care will only offer recreational sales.
"It's really a regulatory decision on that one from the state," said Bayly, noting that Columbia Care's initial license for a second location was for recreational sales only.
Nonetheless, Villa Park officials are keen to start collecting revenues from a 3% tax imposed on all cannabis sales. According to Villa Park's Director of Economic Development Patrick Burke, the police and fire pension fund is to receive two-thirds of the tax revenue, while the remaining third will be applied toward parks, a recreation center and a pool.
"Columbia Care has been a pleasure to work with; their management staff has been both professional and responsive throughout the approval process," Burke said in a statement. "The sales tax revenue generated from this business comes at a crucial time, with the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic."
To limit in-person interactions, Bayly said Columbia Care is encouraging customers to look at its online menu of flower, edibles, vaporization cartridges and more in advance. Bayly especially encourages preorders to speed up the sale process.
"We're trying to take every precaution we can as much as we can to limit the exposure of face-to-face time," said Bayly, noting that mask use is required for customers and staff, while the dispensary has placards and floor markings throughout to help with social distancing.
Bayly also touted cashless transactions via the Columbia National Credit Card, a new store credit card that can only be used for cannabis purchases at Columbia Care locations.
"We are obviously trying to be as responsible as possible," said Bayly, also noting the multiple levels of security for customers to pass through before they can make a purchase.
The Villa Park Columbia Care dispensary is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday through Sunday.