Chitiva brings hemp-based products, THC-infused ice cream and more to cafe-style lounge in Wicker Park
WICKER PARK — A hemp-based dispensary that sells infused ice cream and smokable products has opened near the heart of Wicker Park.
Total Holistic Creamery by Chitiva, 1948 W. North Ave., had its soft opening this summer at the former location of Buzzed Bull Creamery.
In addition to homemade liquid nitrogen ice cream, Chitiva’s menu includes slushies, gummies, smokable cookies and flowers, and THC-infused pre-rolled joints, all designed to get people high. .
Chitiva sources its THC from hemp plants, making it federally legal and not subject to the strict licensing protocols of Illinois cannabis dispensaries, the owner said. The company grows hemp at a facility in suburban Bridgeview, where it also operates a retail store.
“What we’re doing here falls under hemp law, but we’re providing a similar, if not better, experience than what we can do on the cannabis side,” said founder Charles Wu. traces of CBD and lots of THC. And each hemp plant contains a lot of CBD, but also traces of THC.
“So what we’re doing, and this is completely federally legal, is we can take 50 hemp plants, and as we extract the oils from the hemp plants, we’ll concentrate then small amounts of THC.”
Chitiva also sells CBD products and other THC variants.
Chitiva was founded by Wu and Tim Tuff, who met while attending the University of Chicago in the 90s.
Wu said he sees Chitiva’s Wicker Park location as a fun alternative to more corporate clinical dispensaries.
To help open the restaurant, the company hired service industry veteran Ed Rey to oversee menu development and front desk service.
Wu, Rey and Tuff said they hope to create not only a place where people can get high, but also a community gathering place where patrons can work and study, meet friends and attend live events.
Chitiva organizes partnership events with other companies, as well as jazz concerts and bingo nights.
“We want to be open so someone who is a first-time user feels comfortable and isn’t hassled when they walk in, and even for an experienced user, we have little things for everyone,” Rey said. “We incorporate different aspects, from the flower to the vapes to the homemade pastries.”
Wu said one of Chitiva’s main goals is to promote social equity, long a buzzword in the marijuana industry. But Wu said his company takes this mission seriously and has proactively hired employees who were previously jailed.
The company has also partnered with Ex-Cons for Community and Social Change, a violence prevention and social service organization that helps formerly incarcerated people find work. Chitiva donates part of its income to the group, according to its website.
Through its hiring practices and outreach, the company “can be the vehicle we use to help right some of the wrongs of the war on drugs and structural racism and discrimination,” Wu said.
THC by Chitiva’s Wicker Park is open 3-10 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday and 3-9 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. All customers must be 21 or older and identified before purchasing any hemp product.
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