Clean, bright, and fresh MOCA Modern Cannabis dispensary blends in with Chicago’s hippest neighborhood.
What eventually would become MOCA Modern Cannabis began in the fall of 2013, shortly after the Illinois legislature passed the Medical Cannabis Pilot Program to start in 2014. Danny Marks, a bar owner in Chicago and now the owner of MOCA, wanted to get a license.
“The landlord for one of the bars I own, Emporium, was a lifelong pharmacist and pharmacy owner, and I asked him if he would be interested in becoming a partner,” Marks recalled.
However, there was an immense amount of competition for licenses, and a ton of red tape. Eventually, Marks was successful because he “had a great team and we applied to locate in a location where we already lived and worked.” Next up was endearing themselves to the community where, overall, they have been very well received.
“I feel like this [cannabis legalization] is one of the most important changes happening in our country today,” Marks said. “From opioid deaths to prison populations to the economy and taxes…it’s all addressed in cannabis legalization.”
“Our budtenders are on the front line of a revolution, and that is not to be taken lightly. We need to be compassionate to sick people, but we also need to make that we are representing cannabis legalization in a responsible manner. We can’t afford a single misstep if this is going to succeed.” —Danny Marks
Clean, bright, and modern with pops of neon. “We wanted it to feel fresh and new but still fun,” Marks noted. “I wanted to avoid stoner clichés but also not make it boring or stuffy. Our location is in the hippest neighborhood in Chicago, so I wanted a space that felt very fresh and of-the-moment.”
“Vast cannabis knowledge and experience, compassionate interpersonal skills, reliability, detail-oriented, take themselves, and the industry, seriously,” said Marks. “Our budtenders are on the front line of a revolution, and that is not to be taken lightly. We need to be compassionate to sick people, but we also need to make sure we are representing cannabis legalization in a responsible manner. We can’t afford a single misstep if this is going to succeed.”
“It has been interesting to see it evolve,” Marks said. “Illinois is not Colorado or California, so there has definitely been a learning curve for our patients. Overall, we are about 50 percent flower and 50 percent everything else. Illinois cultivators really do an excellent job of creating pure products and are getting more ambitious in trying new things.”
“We have some California things in the works and are looking at other opportunities, as well,” said Marks.
“Things have ramped up a lot since we opened in February 2016,” Marks said. “Sales have grown steadily, considering Illinois has only about 12,000 active patients. General rule of thumb for margin I see statewide, with many exceptions, is an approximate two times markup from wholesale to retail, although with [IRS code] 280E we are still losing a lot of money despite operating at a profit.”
2847 West Fullerton Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60647