Meeting set on plan to open dispensary
by BRIAN NADIG
Alderman John Arena (45th) will hold a community meeting this week on a proposal to open a medical marijuana dispensary in a former print shop at 4760 1/2 N. Milwaukee Ave., two doors from the site of another proposed dispensary.
The meeting will be held at 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" that 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, the operator of a proposed a medical marijuana dispensary must obtain a special use from the city Zoning Board of Appeals. Special uses are often required for taverns and other businesses which concern residents.
At its Nov. 21 meeting, the zoning board approved a request for a special use by Curative Health for 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.
Arena’s chief of staff Owen Brugh said that obtaining a special use does not guarantee that an applicant will receive a state license. The state is expected to begin issuing licenses next year.
Arena did not address the zoning board about the proposal by Curative at the hearing.
"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."
Curative chief executive officer Nicholas Vita told residents at a Nov. 3 community meeting that the dispensary would resemble a pharmacy and that its facade would be designed to blend in with the other buildings in the Jefferson Park shopping district. Some residents expressed concern that prescription holders might sell or share some of their 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.