Dispensary approved by zoning board


The Zoning Board of Appeals has approved a second request for a special use that would allow a medical marijuana dispensary to open in the Jefferson Park shopping district, Milwaukee and Lawrence avenues.

Jamie Perino, the owner of the proposed Euflora Natural Health Center, 4760 1/2 N. Milwaukee Ave., has said that her store would take a holistic approach in dealing with its clients. Perino said that in addition to selling marijuana, employees would make recommendations on other things that customers should consider, such as taking yoga classes or seeing a nutritionist.

Perino said that she became interested in the business after she saw how marijuana comforted a terminally ill relative.

The zoning board approved the proposal by Euflora at its Dec. 19 meeting, and in November it approved a proposal by Curative Health to open a dispensary in a vacant storefront at 4758 N. Milwaukee Ave. Alderman John Arena (45th), whose office is in the same block as the sites of the proposed dispensaries, has not taken a position for or against either proposal.

Although a special use has been approved for both sites, the state would grant a dispensary license to both dispensaries, according to Arena. There are six applications for dispensaries in Jefferson Township, which covers the entire Northwest Side, and under state law no more than two dispensaries can receive a license in the township.

A Curative official has said that the company would not sell marijuana for recreational use because it is a medical-oriented company. Perino sells marijuana for recreational use at all three of her dispensaries in Colorado, but if Illinois were to legalize marijuana for recreational use, Euflora would have to obtain a new special use before it could seek a recreational license, Euflora attorney Bernie Citron said.

Reaction to the proposal by Euflora plan was mixed at a recent meeting held by Arena. One resident said that she would no longer feel safe walking in the Milwaukee-Lawrence shopping district if a dispensary were to open because it would attract criminals, while another resident said that she welcomed a dispensary because it would allow chronically ill residents to obtain marijuana legally.

Both proposals for Jefferson Park call for the installation of a surveillance camera system which could be accessed by police. Only people with a medical prescription card will be allowed into a dispensary.

Dispensary licenses also are being sought for an industrial building near Montrose and Cicero avenues and for a medical building near Cicero and Berteau avenues. The zoning board has not heard those requests.