Weed Dispensary Wants To Open In The Gold Coast, But Neighbors And Bar Owners Say It's A Bad Fit For The Neighborhood – Block Club Chicago


GOLD COAST — A weed company is hoping to win city approval this week to open a dispensary in the Gold Coast over the objections of a neighborhood group and local aldermen.

PharmaCann, a multistate cannabis operator headquartered in the Loop, wants to open a dispensary at 12-14 W. Maple St. near Mariano Park, but some residents say the dispensary is a bad fit for the affluent neighborhood.

Last month, at the request of Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd), the Zoning Board of Appeals delayed PharmaCann’s bid for a special-use permit needed to open the dispensary until the Friday, Aug. 21 meeting of the board.

Hopkins, who opposes the pot shop, said he was seeking a one-month deferral to allow neighborhood leaders to “have their voice heard, and to work in good faith with the applicant.” 

But a virtual meeting PharmaCann held Aug. 10 to update neighbors on the plan was not enough to persuade a coalition formed against the dispensary — called Stop Pot at 12-14 W Maple — to drop their opposition.

“The sheer number of people will be too much for this address, this street and this neighborhood to handle,” group spokesman Matthew Newberger said.

Jeremey Unruh, senior vice president for public affairs at Pharmacann, said what the opposition group labels as “congestion” will actually benefit the neighborhood in a “post-civil unrest and post-COVID-19 environment.”

“Foot traffic is good for retail neighborhoods,” Unruh said. “It’s that foot traffic that will drive a recovery of these retailers and these taverns and these restaurants.”

PharmaCann wants to open a dispensary at 12-14 W. Maple St.Justin Laurence/ Block Club Chicago

Newberger said the Gold Coast is primarily a residential neighborhood, but it’s unique because “it’s a place where family and restaurants coexist.” 

In other areas of the city, like Andersonville, dispensaries

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