Cannabis investment company plans to open multipurpose facility in Metro East

September 18, 2023

Market 96, which opened its first Chicago-area cannabis dispensary earlier this month, has expansion plans in Illinois.

To be located at 7300 Twin Pyramid Parkway in Belleville, the 7,000-square-foot facility will employ about 40 workers, according to founding partner Sherri Blount. The company hopes to open the dual-purpose manufacturing and processing facility and dispensary — which it says will be the first of its kind in the state — in the first half of 2024.

“Our goal as a company is to foster a more inclusive cannabis industry for the benefit of all,” said Blount.

Blount, who founded Blounts & Moore with eight other Black women in 2019, said she’s excited to open a dispensary under the company's Market 96 brand in Belleville, as it looks to be the city’s first dispensary. The Belleville City Council approved a special use permit for the dispensary in May 2022.

Blounts & Moore earlier this month opened its first Market 96 dispensary in Oswego, Illinois, and is planning its second dispensary location in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood. The company plans to open two more locations in the Chicago area and one in Cairo, Illinois, in addition to its upcoming Belleville location.

Blount said Market 96’s first dispensary has been well received by customers. The atmosphere of a Market 96 dispensary is like that of a local market, she said, and the company has implemented new technologies in its stores to make the check-out process faster.

Blount declined to comment on Blounts & Moore’s investment in building out its operations in Illinois.

The property at 7300 Twin Pyramid Parkway, which previously held the Belleville Oncology clinic, is owned by Larry Martin of Martin's Real Estate, a Rome, Georgia-based real estate developer, St. Clair County records show.

Blounts & Moore in 2021 won six retail licenses and two craft grow licenses with its Illinois partners to become vertically integrated in the state. The company earlier this year received a transport license, allowing it to transport cannabis and cannabis-infused products to other cannabis businesses in Illinois.

The Chicago-based company is committed to pursuing vertically integrated opportunities in states with limited license cannabis industries, like Illinois, Blount said.

Blounts & Moore additionally has a pending license in Virginia and plans to expand its presence in North Carolina and South Carolina, according to its website.

Since Jan. 1, 2020, when selling recreational marijuana became legal in Illinois, demand has grown, with more than 100 licenses having been issued. Last year, adult use cannabis dispensaries sold $1.5 billion worth of products, which is an increase of more than 12% from 2021 and 131% from 2020, according to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

Data has shown that Illinois’ out-of-state cannabis market took a hit when Missouri’s newly legalized recreational market came online, as experts previously indicated that Missouri’s market would benefit from lower taxes.


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