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Dispensary 33 West Loop
Photograph: Ashabi Owagboriaye

The 16 best Chicago dispensaries for buying marijuana

Looking for recreational weed in Chicago? These local dispensaries make it easy to stock up.

Zach Long
Written by
Zach Long
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Recreational weed officially became legal in Illinois on January 1, 2020, allowing anyone who is 21 or older to purchase cannabis products for home use. While long lines and low inventory were initially common at Chicago dispensaries, buying flower, vapes and concentrates has only gotten easier as more locations open to recreational customers and supply catches up with demand. You can visit dispensaries throughout the city, each stocked with different products and staffed by knowledgeable budtenders who can help you find what you're looking for (kind of like going to a great Chicago wine shop). New dispensaries are opening as quickly as new permits are issued—and some weed-focused businesses may soon follow, offering more things to do while you're high.

A word of warning if it's your first time buying weed in Chicago: Due to state laws, dispensaries are cash-only businesses. Some pot shops have ATMs on-site or have invested in apps that allow you to use a debit card, but it never hurts to have some cash in your wallet (and don't forget to factor in taxes). Ready to spark up? Here's where you'll find marijuana dispensaries in Chicago.

The best Chicago dispensaries

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  • Uptown

This Uptown storefront was the first spot in Chicago licensed to sell medical marijuana all the way back in 2015, making Dispensary 33 one of the city’s cannabis pioneers. Walking into the place feels a bit like entering a weed museum, with numerous cases displaying the products on offer and detailed drawings of cannabis plants on the walls. Dispensary 33 prides itself on its carefully-curated line of products, researching and testing every variety of flower, pre-roll or tincture before making the decision to sell it to medical and recreational customers.

ATM available

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  • River North

It was really only a matter of time before someone opened up a dispensary on Weed Street. Part of a regional chain that boasts locations in the nearby Illinois cities of Justice, Skokie and Melrose Park, the Chicago outpost of Curaleaf only sells recreational products, including flower, edibles, vapes and tinctures. Swing by to stock up on THC-laden items before or after you grab some snacks at the Whole Foods down the street.

Debit transactions available through CanPay app 

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  • Wrigleyville

National cannabis conglomerate Cresco Labs (the same folks who launched pastry chef Mindy Segal’s line of edibles) operates this brick-and-mortar retail brand with nine locations sprinkled across the state. The Lakeview outpost was Sunnyside's first in Chicago, tucked into a small storefront outfitted with a comfortable waiting room, just to the north of Wrigley Field. The easiest way to get your green is by ordering in advance through Sunnyside’s virtual marketplace, where you can stock up on flower as well as vapes, edibles, tinctures and pre-rolled joints (and yes, Mindy’s gummies are a must). Pickup is a breeze—just be prepared to show your driver’s license and provide your order number.

ATM available, debit cards accepted

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  • Logan Square

Ascend by MOCA’s Logan Square location has been providing medical cannabis since 2016, before expanding into recreational sales. If you’re buying recreational products, you’ll need to enter on Milwaukee Avenue through the storefront that formerly housed the Emporium Pop-up space (there’s a separate entrance for medical patients on Fullerton Avenue). There aren’t many products on display, but budtenders will walk you through the menu of flower, edibles, vapes and concentrates—and they can also help you sign up for Ascend by MOCA’s rewards program, which offers discounts and the ability to earn free products.

ATM available, cashless ATM available with debit card

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  • Little Italy, UIC

Known as the THC Center (see what they did there?), this dispensary is situated south of the Tri-Taylor Historical District and the Illinois Medical District. Boasting one of the largest inventories of cannabis products in Illinois, Herbal Care Center staff are able to guide customers to the types of products that best meet their needs, whether it’s a tasty edible or a potent extract. Medical patients searching for a specific type of cannabis and recreational customers in search of variety will likely find what they’re looking for here.

ATM available

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  • South Chicago

If it’s been a few years since you’ve puff puff passed or you still don’t understand the ins and outs of legalization in Illinois, let Mission Dispensary be your guide. Employees of the South Chicago shop illuminate the path for newcomers—they’ll show you your choices and tailor an experience for you without judgment. They’ve got everything you need to get started, too, from rolling papers and lighters to pipes and bongs.

ATM available, debit transactions available through CanPay app

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  • West Loop

Nestled amongst the restaurants and bars that line Randolph Street in the West Loop, Nature’s Care stocks everything from THC-infused bath salts and mango goobies to individual pre-rolls galore. But perhaps most noteworthy is the company’s Community Benefits Agreement with the Cannabis Equity Illinois Coalition, which aims to provide jobs and training for disproportionately impacted individuals as well as source products and services from BIPOC-owned businesses.

ATM available

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  • West Loop

Building on the success of its original Andersonville location, Dispensary 33 has joined the growing number of spots to buy weed in the West Loop. You can only purchase recreational products at this location, many of which you'll find on display in glass cases throughout the space (which is a bit more sparse than its mural-lined counterpart up north). Still, you can't argue with the convenience of a dispensary located just a few blocks away from some of the city's best restaurants, including spots like J.P. Graziano Grocery, Momotaro and The Girl and the Goat. Don't forget to create a Dispensary 33 account before you show up to shop!

ATM available

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  • River West/West Town

This Chicago-based cannabis company changed its name from NuMed to NuEra in 2020 as a way to mark the new era of weed in Illinois and welcome recreational users. The cozy but sleek shop services both medical and adult-use clients, though the latter must make an online reservation in advance to visit. NuEra stocks an abundance of vape cartridges and pens as well as edibles (think gummies, chocolates and pretzels), but there’s always plenty of flower to choose from, too.

ATM available

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  • Greektown

Situated in the heart of Greektown, the first Chicago location of national dispensary chain Zen Leaf sells recreational products out of a sleek space lined with display cases. Guests can order everything from flower to tinctures online, over the phone or at the counter—make sure to ask about the latest bundle deals and weekly specials if you want to save a few bucks.

ATM available

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  • River North

The second Chicago outpost of national cannabis conglomerate Cresco Labs' retail brand, this River North dispensary has a larger footprint than its counterpart in Lakeview. With products on display in the space, there's more opportunity to browse here—though you're also able to do your shopping through Sunnyside's virtual marketplace and pick up your order. You'll find an array of flower, vapes, tinctures, pre-rolled joints and edibles (including local chef Mindy Segal's popular line of gummies) available for purchase, along with an approachable staff that is beyond happy to answer any questions you may have.

ATM available, debit cards accepted

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  • Norwood Park

Perhaps this Norwood Park dispensary’s biggest selling point is the fact that it’s located a block away from Superdawg Drive-In, making it easy to stock up on shatter and Chicago dogs in the same trip. (Just wait until you get home to dip into your supply.) Consume Cannabis Company operates shops in Illinois and Michigan and prides itself on education above all else. That means that the crew behind the counter is expertly trained to point you in the right direction and help you get to know the product you’re buying and the effects it will have on your body.

ATM available

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  • River North

Ascend by MOCA River North location is dedicated to recreational cannabis sales, housed in a large Ohio Street storefront that’s lined with cases filled with products and televisions that display close-up photos of buds. You can get a feel for what’s on offer before you even reach the counter, though employees are always happy to help and answer any questions. The biggest perk of this downtown dispensary might be the free on-site parking, making it easily accessible to drivers arriving via the Ohio Street exit on I-90/94.

ATM available, cashless ATM available with debit card

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  • Garfield Ridge

Located a few blocks north of Midway International Airport, this dispensary set down roots in the community long before recreational weed was legalized in Illinois. The no-frills shop still maintains a strong medical customer base, but everyday tokers are welcome now, too. Shop a curated selection of topicals (lotions, patches and oils) and edibles (chocolates, tonics and mints) before you start exploring the more expansive supply of flower.

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  • Portage Park

Offering walk-in recreational cannabis shopping, virtual consoltations for medical customers and online ordering, there’s no shortage of options when it comes to browsing this Jefferson Park dispensary’s inventory. Part of a nationwide chain of dispensaries, visitors are shown into an airy, wood-paneled showroom decorated with succulents and lined with drawers that house a selection of flower, vapes, edibles and extracts—including some of Columbia Care’s in-house brands.

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  • Brighton Park

While it lacks the sleek design and bells and whistles touted by other Chicago dispensaries, Maribis offers all of the cannabis products you’d expect to find at a dispensary. Selling to medical and recreational customers, the Archer Heights dispensary is one of the few places you can pick up flower, edibles and concentrates on the city’s Southwest Side—you can even place an order online for pickup.

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