DeKALB – Excelleaf, DeKalb County’s first recreational marijuana dispensary, is ready to take consumers to new levels.
The company, 305 E. Locust St., opens its doors to the public Friday for the first time as part of a soft opening.
“We’re excited about that,” said Nakia McAdoo, a founding partner for Canndid Spirit Too, LLC. Canndid Spirit Too, LLC is the company that operates Excelleaf. The business is majority women-led.
The soft opening kicks off at 9 a.m.. A grand opening is planned for 9 a.m. Dec. 1. Once fully open, the dispensary’s hours of operation will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
The dispensary has been a long time in the making for the city, project leaders said. Originally, Excelleaf intended to open in time for DeKalb Corn Fest in August.
McAdoo said the delay was unavoidable in retrospect.
“I think that the goal of Corn Fest was aggressive,” McAdoo said. “Once we finally got all of the approvals to start, we tried our best to march forward and meet that deadline. After that, it’s really about the state regulation and compliance. That takes a lot of time. It can be sometimes unpredictable. Some dispensaries can get it in a couple weeks. Others it takes a little bit longer. The state is very short staffed in that department.”
Excelleaf is occupying a site in the city’s downtown that once was used for a credit union.
The building has undergone a number of improvements since the company behind the dispensary took ownership of the property.
McAdoo said that among the changes made were improvements meant to bring the building in line with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and security upgrades to the site. DeKalb city code requires strict security provisions for dispensaries.
“We wanted to make sure the building was safe and secure but also welcoming for our clients,” she said.
Mayor Cohen Barnes touted the city’s efforts, which enabled access to the downtown area for the dispensary.
In March 2022, the DeKalb City Council amended city code to accommodate cannabis businesses as a special use in the central business district.
“I think it’s a wonderful addition to our downtown,” Barnes said.
Once its space is fully built out, Excelleaf intends to host workshops and vendors on site, in addition to being active in the community offering instruction and education on how to use marijuana products.
McAdoo said the dispensary wants to ensure that the public is familiar with Excelleaf and its offerings.
“Coming from a medical background, it’s something that’s very comfortable for us to talk about,” McAdoo said. “You’ll see us a lot out in the community.”
According to its website, Excelleaf offers several different marijuana products for patrons to choose from, including edibles, topicals, vapes, pre-rolls and concentrates.
While Excelleaf is not a medicinal dispensary, the store will offer eligible patrons the medicinal discount rate on products, McAdoo said. Patrons cannot smoke or consume the products on site.
“As health care providers, we always see things through a medicinal lens and that won’t change,” McAdoo said. “We’re excited to service those patients, as well. [We] will offer them discounts.”
Barnes acknowledged that residents have been talking about the need for a dispensary close to home for years and said he’s pleased about the potential for generating added marijuana sales tax dollars.
“It could be over $200,000 a year in sales tax revenue,” Barnes said. “It’s a nice addition that we can use to help fund our infrastructure projects and other projects we have in the city of DeKalb.”
McAdoo said it’s been a pleasure working with the city to bring on line a dispensary.
“The city has been welcoming every step along the way,” she said. “They helped us. If I didn’t know the answer to something, I could call one of them and immediately get an answer. So, I would definitely say we definitely feel a sense of belonging, and we’re welcomed in the community.”
McAdoo said it doesn’t bother Excelleaf that another dispensary is on its way toward doing business in DeKalb by spring 2024.
NuEra Cannabis held a recent groundbreaking ceremony to commemorate the start of improvements to the former Book World site in The Junction Shopping Center.
“I think competition is good,” McAdoo said. “This area has not been serviced. It’s a large area. So, I think there’s room for both of us. I think that we may offer something a little bit different. We will always be able to say that we were the first. So, that’s great. We are coming from the medical background as health professionals who feel like we offer something unique to our customers. I think NuEra being here is awesome. Our community deserves good cannabis available to all and if we can both offer that, then that’s great.”