The city approved a leading pot firm’s proposal to move a medical dispensary to a prime location just steps from Wrigley Field — but its unclear whether recreational weed would ever be sold there.
MedMar Lakeview, one of five Illinois dispensaries owned by River North-based Cresco Labs, was given approval late last week from the Zoning Board of Appeals to move to 3524 N. Clark St., which currently houses John Barleycorn restaurant, said Peter Strazzabosco, deputy commissioner of the Department of Planning and Development.
The new site is much larger than the clinic’s current location, at 3812 N. Clark.
The ruling to grant special use zoning for the new location, approved in a 3-2 vote, comes with the condition that Cresco must return to the zoning board for approval to sell recreational marijuana there, Strazzabosco said.
He said that falls in line with the ordinance Mayor Lori Lightfoot proposed last week. Under the mayor’s proposal, MedMar Lakeview and the city’s 10 other existing dispensaries could start selling both medical and recreational marijuana at their current locations without going through the zoning process, but new locations need to go to the zoning board.
Cresco spokesman Jason Erkes acknowledged that the city’s rules haven’t yet been finalized but said the firm “will adhere to whatever is required from all medical operators to start serving recreational cannabis consumers in Chicago.”
However, Cresco’s major hurdle comes in the form of a directive put forth earlier this summer by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation that prevents existing dispensaries from adding recreational marijuana sales if they move to a new location.
On Tuesday, Lt. Gov. Christian Mitchell said the Pritzker administration is open to discussing the issue with members of the industry, which opposes it, but reaffirmed the governor’s stance.
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