RIVER NORTH — The four-way race to open a cannabis dispensary in River North just got cut in half.
On the eve of a zoning hearing about four potential sites for the dispensaries, two companies withdrew their applications.
Only one of the four had a chance to open in its chosen location because state law doesn’t allow dispensaries to be within 1,500 feet of each other.
But because River North is such a coveted spot, the four companies said they were willing to roll the dice on what could be costly construction in hopes of being the one selection for the license.
Instead, officials with PharmaCann and Greenhouse Group withdrew applications before Friday’s Zoning Board of Appeals hearing.
That leaves Cresco Labs and MOCA Modern Cannabis in the derby.
Cresco is looking to open at 436 N. Clark St.
MOCA Modern Cannabis has lined up 214-232 W. Ohio St.
The four sites are just outside the Downtown “exclusion zone,” where dispensaries are prohibited. The prohibited area includes the Loop and the Magnificent Mile, making River North a coveted location to attract Downtown workers and tourists.
The neighborhood’s alderman, Brendan Reilly (42nd), said he told the four companies not to pile into the same area, as three would lose, but the companies pushed forward nonetheless.
Jeremy Unruh, co-founder and director of public and regulatory affairs at PharmaCann, had said he believed the race would work out itself out “organically.” On Thursday, he confirmed to Block Club that his company had withdrawn its application for 444 N. LaSalle St., which was once home to the bar English.
“We love the location, we love the neighborhood and we love the building. We were, however, mindful of