From the outside, New York-based Ascend Wellness’ new recreational cannabis dispensary could easily be mistaken for its previous use — a restaurant.
Inside the 6,228-square-foot building, a former Outback Steakhouse that’s in the final stages of a renovation valued at about $1.2 million, the vibe is more in line with that of a tech store.
In a way, that’s the point.
“When you go into our Collinsville location, it feels like an experience that you would have in any other business when you’re going to purchase a product,” said Kathleen Olivastro, Ascend’s Illinois regional director. “And that’s our goal, not only to help normalize what cannabis is, but it’s also to create an amazing experience for our customers and our associates.”
The dispensary — located at 3201 Horizon Drive with visibility from Interstate 55 — will open to the public Nov. 5. It will be the third dispensary in Sangamon County licensed to sell recreational marijuana.
The new facility, operating under the name Ascend, is the “secondary site” of Illinois Supply & Provisions, 628 E. Adams St., which has served medical customers since 2016 and recreational customers since January.
Under the law, each of the state’s 55 medical marijuana had the right to open the state’s first stand-alone recreational-cannabis dispensaries in addition to selling recreational products at their existing sites.
Maribis of Springfield, a medical marijuana dispensary located in Grandview, began recreational sales this summer and plans to open a secondary site. One additional dispensing license will be awarded in the Springfield metropolitan area, which includes Sangamon and Menard counties, this year.
An efficient retail experience
Showing off their near-complete dispensary, which will be the region’s first adult-use only facility, Ascend officials said Thursday that customers will see many of the products they’re accustomed to, but that it would feel