An Honest Review of Mission Dispensary Chicago

On March 13, 2020 as I waited in line outside Mission dispensary Chicago on the city’s South Side, President Trump stood in the Rose Garden and declared a Covid-19 national emergency.

My first trip to Mission was epic. Things were weird and getting weirder by the minute. We hadn’t even gotten to the Ukrainian crab mogul or smoked any weed yet.

Mission is a Monopoly

Mission dispensary Chicago is a Multi State Operator (MSO). In other words, a monopoly.

Mission is the retail arm of 4Front Ventures. 4Front owns 14 dispensaries in six states: Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Arizona and Michigan.

They also grow, process, package, distribute and sell medical and adult-use cannabis at scale. They have 20+ brands and 300 SKUs they sell to hundreds of medical and adult-use dispensaries through 3 subsidiaries: BrightLeaf, Mission and Pure Ratios.

Mission Dispensary Cannabis

The Mission website is designed to calm the Covid-addled nerves of any discriminating millennial. It’s  chock-a-block with smart looking black, brown and female “patient consultants”.

The copy uses vague medical-sounding advice about the healing power of the plant and how they exist to promote the health and wellness of you and me and your mom.

Funded by 4Front Ventures

But how diverse is 4Front Venture leadership? Not very. They’re neither black nor brown or much in the way of female. Try 70% male and 100% blanched.

The CEO of 4Front, Leo Gontmakher, became the biggest pot producer in Washington state before going public on the Canadian Securities Exchange in 2018.

Turns out his dad is a wealthy Ukrainian crab mogul accused by Russian authorities of participating in a massive poaching operation illegally exporting millions of pounds of king crab to the United States.

His dad’s mansion even has it’s own Wikipedia page.

You cannot make this stuff up.

Mission Dispensary Chicago leans into medical language hard. They describe themselves as a medical dispensary in their “About” section and copy throughout refers to “patients” vs. customers or fans. It’s friendly and creepy all at once.

There’s little info about Mission’s actual product and a lot about achieving operational facilities at scale.

What About the Weed

I got 7g of hybrid White Gorilla Popcorn for $80 and 3.5g of The Great Fire sativa for $60 without a med card in packaging marked as “for medical users only”.

It was taxed at 20% and got $5 off for participating in the Last Prisoner Project for a grand total of $162. That’s approx. $15.50 per gram, which is just slightly more than the $14 per gram I was paying for illegal street weed last year.

I haven’t been back since. Mostly because I fled to the NW four days later and got stuck there for 3 months. I returned in June and found the White Gorilla Popcorn in a drawer. I’d completely forgotten about it.

I can’t lie. It’s good weed.

The advantage of buying from a dispensary is that I know the cannabinoid profile of the weed I consume. I know how much THC is in each strain. It’s also tested for pesticides. I know when it was harvested, tested, and packaged.

While I didn’t have to drive 1/2 hr to wait around for my weed dealer I did have to take a 1/2 hr train ride plus a 10 min walk in a neighborhood I wouldn’t feel safe in after dark with $200 cash. And an hour wait when I got there. And another train ride home.

It has a “Use By” date of 9/21/20 that helps me track how fresh it is and makes me think about where it’s been stored (in the cruddy packaging it came in an occasionally 80 degree apartment in Chicago), and how much I’m smoking.

Not nearly enough for the folks at Mission.

Mission Dispensary Chicago

The drawbacks are there is very little choice of product. Both strain and volume. You basically got to choose between 2 or 3 strains and you got what they had. Here’s what the daily limits were.

Mission Cannabis Dispensary