Vocalo Radio

Chicago's Urban Alternative

Current track



Grasshopper Club Is Bringing Equity Into the Cannabis Business

Written by on February 22, 2023

Pictured above: Matthew Brewer by Ray Abercrombie.

Grasshopper Club is a new Black-owned cannabis dispensary based in Chicago. Started by a South Side Chicago-based family, Grasshopper Club’s vision is not just to create a local dispensary, but to go beyond just selling flower, and blossom into serving the community, as well.

Photo courtesy of Matthew Brewer, by Ray Abercrombie.

“I view this as a platform. This is more than just selling product, it’s about building a platform where we can elevate other brands, people, and organizations that we align with.”

Matthew Brewer, Co owner of Grasshopper Club.

In 2014, Chicago lawyer Matthew Brewer recalls having a candid conversation with his mother about starting a cannabis business. Fast-forward to 2023: three years after cannabis became legalized in Illinois, Brewer and his family opened their first location in Logan Square on February 14, and are looking to expand. Vocalo’s morning host Bekoe sat down with co-owner Matthew Brewer to discuss the journey of becoming one of the only Black-owned dispensaries in Chicago.

Brewer recalled how his family is just one of the many hurt by laws surrounding cannabis, but this didn’t prevent him from tapping into the market. He notes his brother was arrested for cannabis possession, and now has become a key component of their family business. Brewer also feels starting this business was his family’s opportunity to create generational wealth.

“A lot of the motivation here is to bring equity to this story.” Brewer explained. 

Being one of the first Black-owned businesses in the local cannabis industry comes with its praise from the community, but it’s not without its challenges. One challenge was finding a place to set up shop. Brewer said one of the most important things is having a central location, and also making sure the owner of the facilities is willing to allow cannabis to be sold out of their building.

Bekoe and Matthew Brewer outside the Vocalo studios on February 22, 2023. Rakim Winfert for Vocalo.

“Our whole approach is to work with the community…[and] the community was very welcoming,” Brewer said to Bekoe proudly. 

After overcoming many hurdles in creating the business, Brewer feels he and his family have a lot to look forward to. He shared that Grasshopper Club’s mission is to serve the community, and also to expand outward from Logan Square into new areas. He also noted a few programs in the works that are under development. Listen to the full interview above, or view it below to learn more about the business and the work they are already doing in the community.

Interview hosted, edited and produced by Bekoe

Introduction written by Joshua X. Miller

More from Vocalo: