New cannabis dispensary opens in Galena, brings in extra foot traffic

GALENA, Ill. (KWQC) – A new cannabis dispensary is opening in Downtown Galena. Verilife’s grand opening is Saturday, March 6th. Small business owners nearby say this new attraction will help boost their own sales as well.

Verilife President Bill McMenamy says, “this is a long time coming for Verilife. This is an incredible opportunity for us to join the business community and service the tourists and residents of Galena.” Medical and recreational marijuana can be sold to those 21 and older in Illinois with an ID present. McMenamy says recreational marijuana has appealed to people of all demographics, with different products available for various needs.

Verilife’s Illinois District Manager Divina Capellupo says also they hired 45 workers, mostly from Galena. “It’ll be great because it’ll drive traffic back into Galena. A lot of tourists that come from Chicago or neighboring states see us as a brand and purchase, then drive more into the business and state,” she adds.

On the day of the “soft opening,” customers were already streaming in from across state lines. One customer drove in from Mineral Point Wisconsin and spent almost $200. “I think it’s going to be great for the business and only going to bring in more people, it’s going to bring in more people and be an overall really good experience all in all,” she says.

Right across the street, the Log Cabin Steakhouse has been seeing that excitement grow within their community. Manager Abraham Birkholz says they’ve experienced “a lot of pent-up interest asking for weeks to months about the opening, asking ‘where can we go?’ There’s been a lot of excitement around the town as we become a ‘green town.’”

Verilife will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day. The store is located at 115 Perry Street, Galena, IL.

The store is taking COVID-19 precautions, only allowing about 15 people inside at one time, enforcing mask-wearing and social distancing.

Within the first week after marijuana was legalized, sales brought Illinois nearly $11 million. Even with the pandemic and the state locking down, sales continued to increase, generating around $150 million in taxes from the $700 million worth of sold products.

TV6 checked in with law enforcement to see how the legalization of recreational marijuana has impacted crime in the area.

Local businesses also found new opportunities with the legalization of recreational marijuana.

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