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Marijuana dispensary opens in Aurora

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The nuEra marijuana dispensary opened to customers Thursday, the second such dispensary in Aurora.

The store at 1415 Corporate Blvd., off Farnsworth Avenue, is next door to Chicago Premium Outlets, and 420 feet from the Farnsworth interchange with Interstate 88.

It is the third adult-use only facility for nuEra, which also operates such dispensaries in Champaign and Pekin. It runs medical marijuana facilities in Chicago, Urbana and East Peoria.

The license for the Aurora facility is actually a secondary license — known as a plus-one — to the Chicago medical marijuana facility. Using the secondary license allowed nuEra to get open quicker, officials said.

To celebrate its opening, nuEra set special 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. hours for Thursday and Friday.

Aurora officials will join with company leaders in a ribbon-cutting and grand opening event at 9 a.m. Friday in front of the store.

"We are preparing an amazing menu with an incredible array of products from Illinois' best producers — flower, cartridges, edibles and more," said Jonah Rapino, marketing director for nuEra. "There will be something for everyone, and our budtenders are ready to educate and assist."

This opening date was unsure even as late as two weeks ago, when the Aurora City Council approved an extension to the deadline nuEra Partners had for opening the facility.

The council first granted a conditional use for the dispensary in January 2020, then granted an extension in December 2020. The third extension was necessary because nuEra officials, along with other applicants for marijuana dispensaries, have been navigating legal battles and the state's regulations to get open.

The company, which was once called NuMed, applied to the city under two different avenues to a license. The secondary license was available because of the medical marijuana facilities the company operates, but nuEra originally applied to Aurora as a social equity license, which means either investors, owners or workers, or some mix of all three, must qualify as having been disproportionately affected by the criminalization of marijuana in the past.

Rapino said company officials have been anxious to open the Aurora location because it is near Interstate 88 and next to the outlet mall. The company also likes having a location in a population center such as Aurora, the second-largest city in the state.

"It's a crossroads," Rapino said. "We figured this is a great place to be."

Officials said nuMed owns the building, which is 5,500 square feet. Right now, the facility is using about 2,700 of those square feet, but could expand to use the whole building some day. It could also rent out the second part of the building, Rapino said.

According to officials, nuMed Partners is a vertically integrated company, which means they grow and cultivate their own product as well as sell it. What makes them a bit unusual is that they are integrated entirely in the state of Illinois — cultivation, sales, ownership and investors, Rapino said.

"We're the local yokels," he said.

With the business opening near the end of 2021 and into the beginning of 2022, the company is offering 22% off its products for all new customers on Friday, Rapino said.

slord@tribpub.com

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