WEST LOOP — Two weed shops that battled to be the only shop on a hot West Loop block just west of Randolph’s famed restaurant row will now have to compete for customers.
For months, the two rivals, Dispensary 33 and NuEra, tried to block the other from opening a dispensary in the 1400 block of Randolph Street in the West Loop, including filing unsuccessful objections to the other’s bid for a special city zoning permit. Each believed if they scored a license first, a state law preventing dispensaries from opening within 1,500 feet of an existing pot shop would block their competition.
But for the second time this year, state regulators awarded a license to both companies on the same day, effectively sidestepping the state cannabis law by ruling there was no existing dispensary in place to block the other out.
“There were no such dispensaries within 1,500 feet of either applicant on the business day when each met the final requirements to qualify for a secondary site license,” said Christopher Slaby, a spokesman for the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, the agency charged with regulating the cannabis industry.
Each license was approved on Nov. 6, Slaby said.
The ruling echoes a similar battle in River North, where as many as five weed companies raced to open in the lucrative neighborhood, only to have the agency award licenses to both MOCA Modern Cannabis and Cresco Labs on the same day in the spring.
But the River North pot shops are blocks from one another. NuEra, at 1141 W. Randolph St., and Dispensary 33, 1152 W. Randolph St., are set to open dispensaries directly across the street from each other.
NuEra and Dispensary 33 will