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CHICAGO (CBS) — The second recreational-only marijuana dispensary in Chicago opens Wednesday, on – believe it or not – Weed Street.

As CBS 2’s Tara Molina reported, the opening comes after more licensing delays from the state, with Gov. JB Pritzker signing an executive order delaying 80 licenses indefinitely due to COVID-19.

“I think it was meant to be,” said Wren Berger, the director of operations for Windy City Cannabis. “Weed on Weed.”

Meant to be or not, opening a business during a pandemic isn’t easy.
If that business is a recreational pot dispensary, it’s even harder.

“It’s hard to put all those pieces together in a timely manner,” Berger said. “I’m just so excited we were able to do that.”

The new dispensary is going into a onetime industrial building at 923 W. Weed St. – an area just west of Clybourn and Halsted streets and east of Goose Island that was also once known as a nightclub district.

In relatively recent years, the building was home to a location of the New York-based Dinosaur Bar-B-Que restaurant, and before that, the nightclubs Zentra and Mask.

Berger said Windy City Cannabis is ready.

“It’s definitely been a very long time coming,” he said.

And there are safety plans and extra precautions in place. There may not be a nightclub called Mask in the building anymore, but the name still has some relevance in a different way.

“Of course, to enter the facility, you must wear a mask,” Berger said.

The dispensary is opening Wednesday without delay.

“There’s lot more processes and procedures that we had to consider in order to maintain the health and safety of our customers and our staff,” Berger said.

And while procedures in the dispensary may look different on Wednesday, the numbers don’t. Recreational marijuana sales hit a record high during the COVID-19 crisis, topping $44 million in May.

But we found the pandemic is slowing other parts of the industry down.

Through an executive order, Gov. Pritzker has delayed licenses to grow, transport and infuse cannabis products – licenses that were supposed to be announced this Wednesday, but are now on an indefinite pause.

That leaves those who applied for those licenses wondering if and when they’ll get a go-ahead from the state.

Those licenses, for businesses in their first chance to participate in an industry they were not already involved in, were prioritized for social equity applicants.

The state responded to Molina’s request for more information on the delay of licenses with news releases from the Governor’s office and The Illinois Department of Agriculture.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture will announce the new date for issuing licenses, but they have not announced that yet.

“The Pritzker Administration is committed to creating a fair and equitable adult-use cannabis industry in Illinois. IDOA is helping achieve that goal by providing Illinois residents, specifically those who live in communities that were disproportionately impacted by the failed war on drugs, with multiple entry-points to this new industry,” Jerry Costello II, Acting Department of Agriculture Director, said in that department’s release. “The COVID-19 pandemic and the 6-week deadline extension granted to applicants have caused unforeseeable delays in the application review process. The Department is working tirelessly to ensure that applications are scored and awarded in a fair, deliberate and equitable manner.”

CBS 2 is committing to Working For Chicago, connecting you every day with the information you or a loved one might need about the jobs market, and helping you remove roadblocks to getting back to work.

We’ll keep uncovering information every day to help this community get back to work, until the job crisis passes. CBS 2 has several helpful items right here on our website, including a look at specific companies that are hiring, and information from the state about the best way to get through to file for unemployment benefits in the meantime.

The pending licenses are 40 craft grower licenses, 40 infuser licenses, and an unlimited number of transport licenses.

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Tags: investigative gov jb pritzker illinois department of agriculture marijuana marijuana dispensary marijuana licenses recreational marijuana social equity tara molina weed street windy city cannabis investigative

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Thales Academy-Franklins Principal Rachael Bradley Discusses How They Will Be Teaching Kids to Think Upon Opening August 3



Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed Thales Academy-Franklin’s Principal Rachael Bradley to the newsmakers line.

During the second hour, Bradley discusses the August 3 opening of Thales Academy-Franklin and the teaching methodology that will be used at this high-quality private school in Williamson County.

Leahy: We are joined now by the hardest working person in Middle Tennessee. The principal of Thales Academy-Franklin, Rachael Bradley. Good morning Rachael.

Bradley: Good morning Mike, how are you?

Leahy: You know you laugh when I say the hardest working person in Middle Tennessee but I think that’s true because you are being overwhelmed with applications. Your K-3 high quality affordable private education school is opening up August 3. Tell us about what’s happening.

Bradley: You are right about that Mike. I have been absolutely flooded with inquiries from parents. Emails. Applications. Last night when I got home from assessing children all day I got 12 more applications. And that is the daily average right now. You know Mike, you know that when we came here and when we first started talking about our events here last July I told you our goal was 96? I think we are going to meet that goal.

Leahy: Wow! So Rachael Bradley moves here with her family in the middle of the pandemic when everything shut down on April 1. A new school and a new building. You can see it as you are driving in on I-65 just before you get to highway 96 you look to your right. The former Gate Community Church. The beautiful facility there. You will be open August 3 in person with kids K-3 all available. Tell us about what you are hearing from your parents.

Bradley: Parents are really focused on having their children back in classrooms learning in person. With their peers. With high-quality teachers. And that’s what we are going to provide.

Leahy: All of the evidence is coming in that this distance learning particularly for elementary school students is not working at all. Are you seeing that in your assessments of children?

Bradley: Yes, I certainly am. I just finished reading a Wall Street Journal article this morning about the case for re-opening schools. It citing specific data about that lost learning for our young children. But I’ve seen it first hand with the children I’m assessing. It’s pretty evident they’ve had about three quarters of a school year.

Leahy: August 3 you’ll open up. You have a really good plan. I went there and visited several times to the school and you’ve shown me how you are going to work the line of cars as they come in. You have this down to a science don’t you with parents and how they are getting kids in and out?

Bradley: Yes. I can run a carpool in my sleep. (Laughter)

Leahy: Well you’re not getting too much sleep these days because you are getting overwhelmed with assessments on it. The other thing I like about Thales Academy is the methodology which is direct instruction. Give us a brief summary of direct instruction, the best way to learn reading, writing, and arithmetic.

Bradley: Direct instruction is a teaching methodology that’s researched-based, data-driven, and it’s a mastery-based program. The two key components are maximizing student engagement and maintaining high time on task. Which is a mouthful but just means that all of our children are engaged in learning every minute of the day.

Leahy: In our listening audience are parents who have elementary school children in any country. Williamson County, Davidson County, Rutherford County, you’re getting them from all over Middle Tennessee.

Bradley: Right.

Leahy: Those that have tried to work with their elementary school kids and learn using distance learning I think they’ve learned that high time on task and an in-person teacher is very valuable. Is that some of the feedback you are getting?

Bradley: (Laughs) That’s exactly what I’m getting. Parents have been very honest and transparent. As am I because I’m a mom too. The whole idea that everybody all of sudden being expected to “home school” and I’m using that in quotation marks because even though there are some wonderful home school programs. You can’t just say, I’m going to start homeschooling tomorrow. People aren’t equipped to do that and it shows. Parents are at their wits’ end. I think we all feel like we did our best and we used what resources we had and it just wasn’t effective.

Leahy: Go to the and click on the Thales Academy blue banner or go to If parents are listening right now and they want to connect with you what’s the best thing they can do today.

Bradley: They can email me directly and I will get them on the right track. They can email me at [email protected].

Leahy: Why is it called Thales?

Bradley: Thales was of Miletus was a Greek philosopher and the father of thought. And we are focused on teaching our children how to think.

Leahy: Teaching kids how to think! What an unusual idea. (Laughter)

Listen to the second hour here:

– – –

Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.






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