NuEra Cannabis hopes to cast new era for marijuana in DeKalb: ‘Loud and proud’

DeKalb’s second dispensary, NuEra Cannabis, celebrates grand opening with Chicago Bears legend Jim McMahon

Joe Degand, brand agent in charge at nuEra cannabis dispensary, talks Thursday, May 23, 2024, about some of the products available at the new business in DeKalb. Thursday was opening day for the dispensary which is located at 818 West Lincoln Highway, in the Junction Shopping Center.

DeKALB – This week marked the start of a new era in cannabis for the city of DeKalb with the opening of its second dispensary.

The grand opening of NuEra Cannabis’ DeKalb dispensary was met with an assortment of fanfare Thursday.

NuEra Cannabis district manager Ashley Camden said it means a great deal to her and her team to have their doors open at last.

“It’s very much about placing our footprint in as many areas that we can and providing the education, the customer service and being able to answer questions anyone may have about cannabis to, again, break that stigma about their particular perspective about what we are and who we are.”

As part of the festivities, Chicago Bears legend Jim McMahon was on hand to sign autographs, appear at a ribbon-cutting and meet fans until 7:30 p.m. to help showcase his own brand of marijuana, according to a news release. McMahon played quarterback for the 1985 Super Bowl champions. He also is a brand founder for Revenant cannabis, according to NuEra.

McMahon said he plans to have his marijuana brand in supply at NuEra Cannabis in DeKalb.

“That’s why I’m here. We’re hoping to get our brand everywhere we can get it. We’re in seven states, I believe, right now. [We’re] working on some others. Every state is different. So you’ve got a lot of different issues at every state,” McMahon said. “What we’re trying to do is get it where everything is pretty much the same everywhere. It’s ridiculous having to deal with all these different laws and things in different states. It’s crazy.”

The dispensary also was prepared to offer Memorial Day weekend discounts to patrons who dropped in.

DeKalb resident Evan Lewis said he likes the idea of having two dispensaries in town. He said he’s glad he doesn’t have to travel out of his way to get to another dispensary.

“It makes it more accessible,” Lewis said.

Camden said it is easy to separate NuEra from the competition.

“NuEra is loud and proud,” Camden said. “We are very much colorful – our accessory assortment, our agents. We love the authenticity of our team and each of its members. We have the high level of customer service, but we love that our culture is very important to us. [It’s about] being very inclusive, very diverse, very fun. Just being unique.”

NuEra Cannabis general manager Laquetta Neal echoed that sentiment.

“It’s funky,” Neal said. “We’re really the new era.”

It’s the second of two recreational dispensaries now operating in DeKalb and DeKalb County. Excelleaf opened at 305 E. Locust St. in downtown DeKalb in November.

NuEra recreational marijuana dispensary holds a ribbon cutting with the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce for its grand opening on Thursday, May 23, 2024 at 818 W. Lincoln Highway in The Junction Shopping Center, DeKalb.

Camden said she looks forward to working with patrons and hooking them up with the best deals possible.

DeKalb resident Amber Shanks on Thursday was exiting the dispensary after having purchased cannabis flower and pre-rolls. Shanks said she is glad she gave NuEra a shot.

“They seem to have a higher THC content here than the other [dispensary] over there,” Shanks said.

A crowd including DeKalb Chamber of Commerce members gathered at the the dispensary Thursday evening to help mark its grand opening. Some came out to see McMahon.

For Bears fans, McMahon negated the idea that he’d start to question his legacy if the Bears ever found the right QB1 who could reverse the franchise’s Super Bowl fortunes and win it all again someday.

“I don’t think that Chicago or anybody else is ever going to forget our ‘85 team,” McMahon said. “People still talk about it. It’s been almost 40 years. We’re hoping the Bears do something. I know the fans have been hungry for a long, long time. They deserve another winner here. So, hopefully, [Caleb Williams] will do well.”

Shanks said she believes having two dispensaries in town is beneficial.

“It’s good to have competition,” Shanks said.

NuEra was awarded a $25,000 grant from the city of DeKalb in March to help offset costs for building facade improvements.

Camden said it’s clear that people have been longing for the dispensary to open.

“People are very excited,” Camden said. “I think they’ve been very eager for us to open.”

Neal shared that sentiment.

“We had customers out here at 10,” Neal said.

This story was updated at 5:56 p.m. Thursday, May 23, 2024, with additional quotes from Jim McMahon.

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