Rise Quincy cannabis dispensary opens

Heather Johnson, a patient care specialist at Rise Quincy cannabis dispensary, reviews a customer order on Friday. The dispensary, at 2703 Broadway, welcomed its first customers on Friday. This is the second dispensary to open in Quincy after adult-use recreational cannabis was legalized in Illinois. | H-W Photo/Ethan Colbert
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Feb. 1, 2020 12:50 am Updated: Feb. 1, 2020 12:51 am

QUINCY — Rise Quincy, an adult recreational-use cannabis dispensary at 2703 Broadway, opened its doors for the first time on Friday, more than 30 days after it had planned.

Despite the delay, officials said they were kept busy.

"We've just had people in here constantly all day today," said Charlie Roberts, assistant general manager. "We had people at the registers all day today. We have had bursts of traffic where we were bottlenecked inside the door, but overall, it has been fairly constant."

Rise Quincy, in the former location of the Outdoor Power dealership, will continue to offer expanded hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday. Regular hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

The dispensary has 6,618 total square feet, including 1,840 square feet of retail space.

"We're thrilled to continue the momentum of the successful rollout of Illinois adult-use sales with the opening of Rise Quincy. GTI has served tens of thousands of customers since Jan. 1, and we look forward to providing people in Illinois further access to well-being through the power of cannabis at our stores and via our branded products," said Green Thumb Industries founder and CEO Ben Kovler. GTI is the parent company of Rise Quincy.

Rise Quincy's General Manager Jamie Dennis said she knows many in Quincy are likely curious, and she encourages people to come in and browse.

"They are absolutely welcome to come inside if they are over 21 years old and have a valid government photo ID," Dennis said. "They don't and won't feel pressured or obligated to buy anything. They can come in and talk to the staff and ask questions about the products."

Officials acknowledge that the opening did not match that of other dispensaries in Quincy and in the state, where throngs of would-be customers lined up outside the door hours ahead of the Jan. 1 opening. At Quincy's other cannabis dispensary, Herbal Remedies, a crowd of more than 400 people awaited the opening.

"We knew it was not going to be like that," said Derrick Levy, GTI district manager. "We knew our lines were not going to be crazy long."

Officials said they could not release how many customers had been through the dispensary or the total dollar amount for opening-day sales.

During the delay, Rise Quincy employees said they focused on becoming more knowledgeable about products. Dennis said that behind-the-scenes preparations paid off when employees, known as patient care specialists, were able to answer shoppers' questions.

"We want to be the experts on our products so that when our clients come in and tell us about the symptoms or have questions about a particular product that we can answer those questions," Dennis said.

Roberts said many questions on Friday were about specific products and how they were prepared.

"There's a lot more to cannabis than what people think," Robert said. "It is a science now. We get lab reports that tell us exactly what is in these products, so we can tell people exactly what they are getting. Because of what we know, we are able to have a lot of risk education with our guests. We can tell them just how the products can be safely used."

Dennis and others said they hope the dispensary's no obligation to purchase policy will help alter the public's perception of cannabis use.

"We know there are lots of perceptions about what a dispensary is, about cannabis," Dennis said. "We also know the only way to change the stigma is for people to come in and see for themselves, to check out the dispensary, to have someone knowledgeable answer their questions."