Alderman Arena to hold Dec. 11 community meeting on second medical marijuana dispensary proposal for Jefferson Park


Alderman John Arena (45th) will hold a community meeting next week on a proposal to open a medical marijuana dispensary inside a former print shop at 4760 ½ N. Milwaukee Ave., just two doors from the site of another proposed dispensary.

The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 11, at the Wilson Park fieldhouse, 4630 N. Milwaukee Ave. The applicant is Euflora Health Center LLC.

Arena has said that there is “zero chance” the state would issue licenses to two dispensaries in the same block.

The state plans to issue no more than two medical marijuana licenses in all of Jefferson Township, which includes the Northwest Side and extends as far east as Western Avenue and as far south as North Avenue. The state reportedly received six applications for dispensaries in the township.

In order to be eligible for a state license, an operator of a proposed a medical marijuana dispensary must obtain a special use from the Zoning Board of Appeals. Special uses are often required for taverns and other businesses which typically raise concerns among residents.

At its Nov. 21 meeting, the zoning board approved a special use request by Curative Health at 4758 N. Milwaukee Ave. At the same meeting the board deferred a hearing on Euflora’s request, which could be heard at the board’s meeting on Friday, Dec. 19.

Obtaining a special use is not a guarantee that an applicant will receive a state license, said Arena’s chief of staff Owen Brugh. The state is expected to start issuing licenses some time next year.

At the hearing Arena did not take a stance on Curative’s proposal. “We had some positive feedback, and we had some negative feedback, and all in all we decided to take no stance,” Brugh said. “The zoning board is an independent body. There is no aldermanic prerogative where if an alderman does not say ‘yes’ nothing happens.”

At a Nov. 3 community meeting on Curative’s proposal, Curative chief executive officer Nicholas Vita told residents that the dispensary’s interior would resemble a typical pharmacy and that the façade would be designed to blend in with the rest of the Jefferson Park shopping district. Some residents expressed concern that prescription holders might sell or share some of their leftover marijuana.

Under state law, prescription holders can receive up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana every two weeks and can seek a waiver to receive additional amounts.