As cars and trucks whisked past on nearby Interstate 55, the ribbon was officially cut on Springfield’s first recreational-only marijuana dispensary Thursday morning.
The opening comes more than a year after New York-based Ascend Wellness purchased the 6,228-square-foot building, a converted former Outback Steakhouse and 10 months after the legalization of recreational marijuana took effect across the state.
The dispensary, operating under the Ascend brand, is the third Springfield area location that sells recreational marijuana but the first without the medicinal component. Medical patients still will be able to utilize the facility, but they will have to pay the significantly-higher recreational tax rate.
Dispensary officials said Thursday that customers can expect the feel of a traditional retail shopping experience as they navigate the 3,000-square-foot dispensary floor of the new location.
“So they have the opportunity to really browse the dispensary floor, talk with budtenders, ask questions and just get the experience of a dispensary rather than where you’re quickly in and out of it,” said manager Emma Ross. “But again, for those folks that do want to be in and now we offer that accommodation as well.”
And there it is. Mayor Jim Langfelder and Ward 3 Ald. Doris Turner on hand to help cut the ribbon.
Also, notice how close we are to Interstate 55. Not an accident. The Ascend folks are hoping to get those passing through to stop by in addition to Springfield people. pic.twitter.com/vwZLF0aYNv
— Brenden Moore (@brendenmoore13) November 5, 2020
The early reviews from customers were positive.
“I think it’s a nice place,” said Jeff Derry, 54, of Springfield. “The staff is good, everybody’s bending over backwards to help you, that’s always good. When you’re spending money somewhere, you like to have that personable service. So that’s good.”
Derry, a medicinal customer who left the dispensary