Dispensary for medicinal pot sought in 33rd


One of the two medical marijuana dispensaries which can operate in Jefferson Township under state guidelines has been proposed for a storefront at 3541-45 N. Elston Ave.

Alderman Deb Mell (33rd) will hold a community meeting on the proposal at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 16, in the Community Room at Brands Park, 3259 N. Elston Ave. The 3,600-square-foot dispensary would operate in a building at Kedzie and Elston avenues that previously was occupied by the Prayer Furnace, a religious ministry.

Under state law, no more than 13 medical marijuana dispensaries can operate in Chicago, with a limit of two in each township. The state reportedly received about a half-dozen applications for dispensary licenses for Jefferson Township, which covers the Northwest Side.

tatewide 60 dispensaries and 22 cultivation centers, with a limit of one cultivation center in Cook County, are allowed under Illinois law.

The Zoning Board of Appeals is scheduled to hear a request for a special use request for the proposed dispensary on Elston at its meeting at 9 a.m. Friday, Oct. 17, in the City Council Chamber at City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle St.

In a statement on her Web site, Mell said that the applicant for the special use, Kind Care, had the most impressive business plan of the three companies which were seeking a medical marijuana license in her ward.

"(Kind Care) has shown the most forethought and compassion for meeting the needs of prospective patients of the dispensary and is approaching this with firsthand personal experience of related conditions," Mell said. "They also seek to provide space for counseling and support groups."

One of Kind Care’s board members became interested in the medical marijuana industry while she was caring for her husband with cancer, according to the company’s Web site. The company has applied for a state license, and the earliest that the dispensary could open is in the spring of 2015.

Kind Care’s special use application is one of four medical marijuana proposals that the zoning board will consider at its October meeting, and its application is the only one for Jefferson Township on the agenda. The other three locations are 947-55 W. Lake St., 4568-70 S. Archer Ave. and 801-13 S. Wabash Ave.

Special use requirements apply to businesses that typically generate community concerns, such as massage parlors and liquor stores, and the zoning board will consider the effect that a dispensary would have on the immediate area. A dispensary cannot be located within 1,000 feet of a school or day care center.

Several Northwest Side aldermen have received inquiries about dispensaries. In the 45th Ward, a plan to open a dispensary in the 4800 block of West Irving Park Road reportedly was dropped, but some special use applications for dispensaries are expected for the ward due in part to the area’s access to public transportation, Alderman John Arena’s chief of staff Owen Brugh said.

Alderman Timothy Cullerton (38th) said last week that he is "not aware of anyone actively pursuing a location in the 38th Ward" but that he has had a small number of inquiries.

Alderman Margaret Laurino (39th) has not been approached about opening a dispensary in her ward, Laurino spokesman Manuel Galvan said.