When Michael and I were mere philosophy students in undergraduate school, we had lofty ambitions.
While I toyed with the idea of just being an academic for the rest of my life, I realized this wasn’t going to lead to financial security or give me a comforting safety net like I could with a different career. Michael on the other hand was dead set on working in the cannabis industry. At the time our country’s cannabis industry was isolated to a handful of states that had medical marijuana laws allowing for state-approved physicians to write cannabis recommendations for their patients. By the time we graduated college, three states had suddenly legalized cannabis for recreational use. It was an exciting time to say the least. Michael moved to one of these states and started at the bottom of the food chain trimming plants for retail cannabis dispensaries. He worked his way up to be one of the heads of cultivation at a large cannabis corporation before moving to Chicago last year to be the full head of cultivation at one of Illinois’s biggest cannabis companies. Chicago is trying to cement itself as the weed capital of the midwest with its ambitious opening of over nearly 20 cannabis dispensaries in the metropolitan area alone, with dozens of others in the nearby suburban neighborhoods. The company where Michael works has its corporate headquarters and growing operations in West Town. One of their biggest cannabis competitors has their headquarters in River North to the east. Needless to say, there will probably be countless more cannabis stores opening in the Chicago area in the coming years, let alone within the next decade.