The JG-TC's No. 8 story of 2020: Charleston dispensary opens with state allowing cannabis sales – Journal Gazette and Times-Courier


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Brett Followell, general manager of the Zen Leaf cannabis dispensary in Charleston, works behind the order counter at the store that opened earlier this month.

JG-TC FILE PHOTO Dave Fopay

CHARLESTON — The first local business that took advantage of Illinois’ legalization of cannabis sales opened in Charleston earlier this month.

The Zen Leaf recreational cannabis dispensary took over the location that formerly housed a Family Video store.

Its opening followed the city of Charleston’s approval of a cannabis sales ordinance and issuing of a building permit earlier in the year.

There’s apparently been some interest in a similar business in Mattoon, where a sales ordinance got the OK in June, but no development plans are yet in place.

At the time of Zen Leaf’s opening, Mattoon city Administrator Kyle Gill said a couple of businesses have inquired about opening in Mattoon.

Zen Leaf and other establishments are able to operate under the state law that allows adults to buy a limited amount of cannabis.

The state law allows a variety of products with limits on the amount of THC, the high-inducing compound that cannabis contains.

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Store staff at Zen Leaf indicated that a variety of cannabis flowers for smoking are the most popular product but offerings also include edibles, topical oils and more.

The Charleston City Council approved the company’s proposal in July, technically amending the city’s cannabis sales ordinance to allow one business to operate in the city.

The council approved the corresponding ordinance in June, outlining location and other operating requirements.

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