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Area Residents Approve Medical Marijuana Dispensary In Andersonville

marijuana2Like it or not, a new medical marijuana dispensary just cleared its first big hurdle to occupy the store front at 5001 N Clark St. (former Pie Hole restaurant). If the license is approved by the State, the business will be located on the far South end of Andersonville at the corner of Clark and Argyle.

On Tuesday night, over sixty members of the local WFCW (Winona Foster Carmen Winnemac) block club approved the dispensary’s possible operation at the location. The vote came after a presentation by The Cannabis Group LLC, the company that will manage the business.

After running our first story on the dispensary on Dec. 16, 2014, there where mixed feelings on the storefront’s entry into the community. On our Facebook page, one reader said, “I lived in San Francisco when the laws changed to allow dispensaries. One opened on my block. The dispensaries drastically affected the neighborhood, unfortunately, in a negative way. Increased dealing, loitering and petty/violent crimes, including mugging and assault.”

Yet others were in favor of the dispensary, another reader saying, “I live on Clark, right over there, and the empty storefronts between Winnemac and Ainslie are a sad show. Any new business in there is a positive.”

By according to our friends at Uptown Update, there are other big steps to accomplish in order for the business to operate even after the WFCW vote. They pointed out in their article:

  • Gov. Quinn’s departure from office Monday without issuing licenses to grow and sell medical marijuana puts the program in limbo for now, as Gov. Rauner will have to scramble to catch up.  Rauner said Tuesday that he will take time to assess the program and make sure it’s being “managed properly.”  He gave no timetable for his assessment of the program, which he has said he would have vetoed if he had been governor when it was approved.
  • The Cannabis Group LLC will have to go in front of Chicago’s Zoning Board of Appeals to get a special use variance.  With Ald. Pawar’s (presumed) approval, that shouldn’t be much of a problem.  The ZBA almost always defers to the alderman’s wishes.
  • Then it goes to the state level, and this is where the selection process becomes highly competitive.  Illinois law limits the total number of dispensaries in the state to 60.  Only 13 of those 60 will be inside Chicago.  As of last September, over 200 applications for dispensaries had been filed statewide.

While Joe Poole (47th Ward Ald. Ameya Pawar chief of staff) has stated in the past that the Alderman is supportive of this cause, his office is not taking a position until more community feedback is produced. There will be three more meetings in the near future that will help make his decision. Those community meetings will be held by The Andersonville Chamber of Commerce, Business Partners – The Chamber For Uptown and NUNA (North Uptown Neighbors Association).


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