ANDERSONVILLE — A Florida-based cannabis company is buying Dispensary 33, ending a run of local ownership for Chicago’s only independent pot shop.
Ayr Wellness announced Monday it has reached a deal to buy Dispensary 33’s two Chicago dispensaries for $55 million. The acquisition is part of Miami-based Ayr’s rapid expansion in Illinois, where recreational cannabis was legalized in 2020.
Ayr, which operates cannabis grow facilities and dispensaries in multiple states, has also purchased two dispensaries in downstate Quincy and has plans to open a shop in Bloomington, the company said in a release. The Sun-Times first reported the news of Dispensary 33’s sale.
The purchase of Dispensary 33 gives Ayr “presence in two of Chicago’s most desirable neighborhoods,” Andersonville and the West Loop, company CEO Jonathan Sandelman said in a statement.
“In any market where we operate, our goal is to develop scale and meaningful presence,” Sandelman said. “We will continue to seek opportunities to expand in Illinois.”
Credit: Joe Ward/Block Club ChicagoDispensary33 at 5001 N. Clark St. in Andersonville. Before the sale, the Andersonville-based cannabis company was the last remaining dispensary with independent ownership after Rogers Park’s Green Gate Chicago was acquired by pot giant Verano earlier this year.
Dispensary 33 opened as a medical shop in 2015, recording the city’s first legal cannabis sale that year. The dispensary also recorded the first legal sale in the state’s history when recreational cannabis was legalized Jan. 1, 2020.
It has since grown to become one of the city’s biggest and most influential pot companies.
With Illinois’ legal cannabis business booming, Dispensary 33 this year opened a second shop at 1152 W. Randolph St. The company is also working to expand into the two neighboring storefronts at its flagship location at 5001 N. Clark St.
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Dispensary 33 and its founder, Bryan Zises, also have ties to five cannabis companies that won permits to open pot shops in Chicago.
Zises will retain his minority owner stake in those companies and will use cash from the sale of Dispensary 33 to boost those start-ups, he told the Sun-Times.
A spokesperson for Dispensary 33 did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.
Ayr Wellness operates cannabis facilities in eight states including New Jersey, Massachusetts, Arizona and Nevada.
The company on Monday also announced a new branding strategy, with plans to convert its 65 dispensaries nationwide to the “Ayr” brand starting early next year.
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