By Atiya Jordan
The Grasshopper Club is more than just a dispensary. It is a Chicago-based, Black-owned business, blazing the trail as the Windy City’s first independent, Black-owned dispensary, ABC 7 Chicago reported.
What started with a family from the South Side and their vision to create a local dispensary beyond merely selling flowers is now serving as a vehicle for a more diverse ecosystem in the industry.
In doing so, the Grasshopper Club represents what’s possible for many people of color looking to break into the majority-white industry. They offer job opportunities and a wide assortment of edibles, smokeable flower, vape pens. and other THC products.
Diane Brewer and her sons, Matthew Brewer and Chuck Brewer, are the masterminds behind the enterprise. Diane handles accounting, Matthew manages the business, and Chuck leads the daily operations. The Grasshopper Club is situated at 2551 N. Milwaukee Ave. in the Logan Square building, which dates back to the early 1920s.
This family affair, rooted in heritage and legacy, comes full circle for Chuck.
Growing up, Chuck found himself on the other side of the law after being arrested several times for marijuana possession.
“FOR ME TO BE DOING THIS LEGALLY WITH MY BROTHER AND MY MOTHER, IT’S PRICELESS,” HE TOLD THE NEWS OUTLET.
In 2019, Gov. JB Pritzker signed an equity-centric law to legalize adult-use cannabis in Illinois, which officially began on Jan. 1, 2020. House Bill 1438 “promotes equity and invests in the communities that suffered through the war on drugs, serving as a model for the legalization and decriminalization of cannabis,” according to a press release.
The Brewer trio jumped at the opportunity back in 2019 to secure a social equity license from Illinois to open the dispensary. But they had to pause planning due to COVID-19-induced delays and other factors.
Matthew, who handles the company’s business side, had already been involved in the cannabis industry since 2014, when Illinois legalized medical marijuana. According to Book Club Chicago, it took a long time for the commercial litigation attorney to “lock up properties” when he eventually received the award in mid-2020.
“It was this opportunity for wealth creation, generational for my mother and my brother,” Matthew said, per the outlet. “This isn’t like banking or engineering where the experts have been doing it for decades and have all of this experience under their belt. This is an industry where people haven’t been doing it a lot longer than you have, so there’s a chance to get in early.”
Go check out this Black Owned Dispensary today!