On January 1st, 2020, Illinois’ House Bill 1438 was put into effect by Governor J.B. Pritzker making legal adult-use recreational cannabis. The bill opened up the door for local and nationwide businesses to come and take advantage of this new opportunity. The bill provides tax funds, created jobs, and led to the Restore, Reinvest and Renew (R3) Grant Program. R3 targets specific communities in Illinois that have been struck by gun injuries, child poverty, unemployment and incarceration. The R3 grants provides funds for civil legal aid, economic development, reentry, violence prevention and youth development. With the use of medical and recreational cannabis for sale, the state of Illinois collected $462 million in tax revenue in 2022. With this booming industry taking on new financial highs in the state (pun intended), here is a list of local dispensaries and some of the qualities that may set them apart from crowd.

With 4/20 fast approaching, watch all dispensary’s for deals and loyalty program specials.

1. nuEra

Currently, you will only find nuEra in Illinois, nearby in Chicago for Medical and Adult Use, and Aurora for Adult Use only. This dispensary has plenty of discounts to take advantage of. Veterans receive 10% off, and medical patients get a big advantage with 20% off. New medical patients also get $100 discount on your first visit. Any customer can earn 3% back for every purchase by joining the Rewards Club. Take part in the REEFER A FRIEND program to receive a $15 discount.

nuEra uses other creative ways to attract new clientele. Two Brothers Artisan Brewing Co. teamed up with nuEra Aurora to create “RisEau”, a CBD-infused (20 mg) sparkling beverage. nuEra also features the “Mike Tyson 2.0” strain that has had guest appearances at the Chicago location from Iron Mike himself. Be sure to stay up to date with just about every holiday and month for special season-themed events and/or promotions.

2. Zen Leaf

ZenLeaf began with one store in Las Vegas in 2016. Now they are in 13 states, and have 10 locations in Illinois alone, including Aurora, Lombard, Naperville, and St. Charles.

ZenLeaf’s Naperville dispensary is a great example of their brand. The 4,600 square-foot store offers a full menu of cannabis products, concentrates, edibles, vape cartridges, and pre-rolled options. Online orders and in-store pickups are available along with a cashless ATM that avoids the unnecessary handling of actual money. In December of 2020, ZenLeaf was the second Naperville dispensary to open, after initial pushback and a ban from Naperville’s City Council. ZenLeaf has a loyalty program applicable to all locations, and can be leveraged using their mobile app. The more you buy, the more you save.

3. Curaleaf

Curaleaf has been providing cannabis products nationwide for over a decade. They pride in growing their own products, and encouraging a holistic lifestyle approach for a positive state of wellness. Offering advice on meditation and proper usage of their products, Curaleaf aims to target a healthier “you” to their consumers. They also realize purchasing cannabis can sometimes be intimidating, and aim to provide comfort for all levels of knowledge among their customers. They offer private consultants that will help patrons focus on their personal relationship with cannabis, ensuring that you are buying a product that is focused on your own health needs.  First time patients get 15% off their first three visits, and medical patients get 15% off all recreational purchases. With a wide variety of blood drives, cancer fundraisers, and feeding the homeless, Curaleaf thrives to be a company that leaves it’s mark as a socially responsible one creating good vibes with everyone.

Curaleaf also has 10 Illinois locations, including Worth for Medical and Adult Use, and Westmont, Weed Street, and Melrose Park for Adult Use only.

4. Consume Cannabis

Consume is a bit younger, having started just before COVID in January 2020. They are now in four states, with nearby locations in Chicago, Oak Brook, and St. Charles coming soon.

Consume Oak Brook is a local favorite. Since opening in June of 2020, this recreational dispensary has taken pride in taking an educational approach. Besides continually educating their employees on the laws, products, and latest trends/resources, Consume offers a wide variety of “Know Your Cannabis Classes”. Usually lasting an hour, the classes provide information for patrons on such topics as: Extracts, Chronic Pain, Intro to Cannabinoids, Edibles, and Cooking with Cannabis. There are also events such as “Tonic Mocktail Night” which allows an opportunity to learn how to make mocktails with mixologists. Whether it’s purchasing marijuana products or socializing at one of their many events, Consume Cannabis Oak Brook desires to be a HIGHlight of your social calendar.

5. Verilife

Verilife is in six states, with eight Illinois locations, including North Aurora for Medical and Adult Use, and Rosemont, River North, and Schaumburg for Adult Use only. Unlike the above dispensaries, Verilife does not have separate websites (or separate deals) for each location.

The popular Romeoville location just south of 1-55, gives a sense of their brand. This location has been open since the sale of cannabis became legal in Illinois. They sell a variety of flowers, concentrated waxes, oils, edibles, tinctures, transdermal patches, and topical salves for medicinal and recreational purposes. These can be purchased as whole flower, smalls, shake, pre-rolls, vapes, and edibles (gummies, chocolates, tablets, and many more). They offer 15% discounts at every purchase for veterans, seniors, and SSDI/SSI patients. New medical patients earn the 15% discount for the very purchase only.

6. Cannabist

Cannabist is in 11 states, with two Illinois locations: Chicago and Villa Park.

The Villa Park dispensary demonstrates their desire to be a “higher” end brand well. Located across from the Villa Oaks Shopping Center, Cannabist opened it’s doors in 2020 like many others. Their business model is to serve their Three Pillars – Higher standard, Higher knowledge, and Higher calling. Higher standard focuses on better products and better service. You can be assured you will be speaking with knowledgeable “bud tenders” when at Cannabist. Higher knowledge comes in the form of extensively training their staff so that they can match up their customers with their needs. Higher calling eludes to inspiring consumers to see what the world of cannabis has to offer. Whether that be through pain relief, elevated mood, or taking oneself to a higher ground, Cannabist aims to please. Veterans, Seniors (65 +), Medicaid/SSI/SSDI and Cannabis Industry workers all receive 15% discounts. If it’s your birthday, stop on in and get $10 a celebratory purchase.

Further evidence of Cannabist following through on their brand is in their engagement with community and social initiatives, as well as their achievement of a couple awards for outstanding cannabis employer.


RISE is an expansive medical and adult use dispensary in 14 states. With various locations throughout Illinois, RISE has been operating dispensaries since 2015.

Nearby is the RISE location in North Naperville, 15 minutes from NIU-Naperville Campus (Formerly 3C Compassionate Care Center). RISE allows you to use, cash, credit card or online payments through Aero pay. You can also earn points through their loyalty program, providing discounts and reduced costs as they accumulate. The Naperville location is open for recreational and medical marijuana in-store pickup, curbside pickup and in-store shopping. RISE offers flower, pre-rolls, vapes, edibles, extract, tinctures, topicals, capsules, cbd, gear, merchandise and drinks.

8. Sunnyside

Sunnyside is a dispensary brand found in 7 states, including 10 dispensaries in Illinois. For those looking for another Naperville dispensary, this is one of their closest locations. Sunnyside Naperville is for Adult Use only (try Wrigleyville/Lakeview or Elmwood Park for Medical), and is clean and bright to go along with its name. The feel is much like that of a calming and cheerful wellness spa. Sunnyside Naperville has many positive reviews for the atmosphere, knowledgeable and friendly staff, and cleanliness.

9. EarthMed

Opening in 2015, EarthMed became one of the first medical marijuana dispensaries in Illinois. Today it still only has two locations: Addison (Medical and Adult Use) and Rosement (Adult Use).

In Addison in particular, this uniquely small size allows for an experienced patient care specialist team that can meet customers medicinal needs. Unlike many other dispensaries, EarthMed takes pride in offering the best selection for patients using the product for ailments. Appointments are not needed and walk-ins are welcomed when it comes to browsing the inventory. Some of the highlights of EarthMed are free parking, online ordering, cash accepted (with ATMS available) and discounts are available for seniors (10%) and veterans (15%). Keep an eye out for “Recreational Tuesday” as 15% discounts are given to total orders for those buying for recreational purposes.

10. Hatch

Hatch is another dispensary local to Illinois with just a two locations: Wheeling for Adult Use and Addison for Adult Use and Medical. With over 500 items to purchase, Hatch is an independent dispensary that provides no shortage of options. Hatch looks to keep customers returning by using a loyalty program where members can earn points and redeem them later for discounts on products. There are three levels of tier’s that you can earn points with: Seed Tier (free to join), Sprout Tier ($500 worth of purchases) and Flower Tier ($1,200 annually).  You can also receive birthday reward points and be on the lookout for exclusive coupons when signing up for Seed Tier. You can rid yourself of cash and atm fees by using AeroPay from your phone to make purchases as well.


Image by Jurassic Blueberries under CC BY 2.0