CITY HALL — An effort to bring an indoor weed farm to Chicago’s South Side was delayed at a City Council committee meeting Tuesday.
South Side developer DL3, headed by Leon Walker, is seeking a zoning change to convert a warehouse at 1050 E. 95th St. in Burnside just north of Pullman into a weed cultivation center or craft growth facility.
It is not known if DL3 has a potential tenant for the proposed indoor weed farm or if the developer would sell it to a cannabis company.
The local Ald. Michelle Harris (8th) asked for the matter to be deferred to allow for more community input, Zoning Chairman and Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) told Block Club after the Committee on Zoning meeting Tuesday.
Harris, DL3 or the real estate broker did not return calls about the project.
The site, listed for sale for $1.05 million dollars with commercial real estate brokerage Jameson, has a 14,000-square-foot building sitting on 31,000 square feet of land.
Craft growth facilities are limited to 5,000 square feet of cultivation space. Unlike larger cultivation centers, craft growers can be co-located with a dispensary.
State Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) told Block Club last week the craft grow licenses are meant to include more people into the cannabis industry.
“One of the reasons for pursuing craft was to have a lower barrier to entry and make it easier for folks to have a lower cost path to becoming a grower,” she said.
“There’s a lot of variation on what a craft could look like, you could do a craft with a dispensary attached,” she said.
Up to 40 licenses for craft growing will be awarded statewide by the Department of Agriculture by July 1. Another 60 can be doled out by December 2021.
Proposed amendment on rules for banning weed sales in city precincts
Also on Tuesday, the committee advanced a proposed amendment amendment to the city’s cannabis zoning law that will halt dispensary applications from moving forward if anyone files paperwork with the city to ban cannabis sales in a city precinct. That filing would delay an application from moving forward for 90 days while the petitioner attempts to collect enough signatures to make a precinct cannabis free.
Another 90-day delay would be added if the City Clerk verifies that the petitioner collected the signatures of at least 25 percent of registered voters in a precinct. If they have, the local alderman will be notified.
Ultimately, it is up to the local alderman to decide to move forward with that petition and decide if ordinance should be introduced at City Council to ban cannabis sales within a precinct.
Zoning Administrator Patrick Murphy told aldermen the change would better align the city’s law with state law.
Weed in smoke shops delayed
A vote on Mayor Lightfoot’s ordinance to allow smoke shops to allow on-site cannabis consumption lounges was scheduled to take place Tuesday at the Committee on License and Consumer Protection, but was delayed for the second time in two weeks.
The mayor’s city council floor leader, Ald Gilbert Villegas (36th), told Block Club he hopes that state legislators will make changes to the state law that only permits consumption lounges at smoke shops that generate 80 percent of their revenue from tobacco products and dispensaries. Villegas said the Mayor’s ordinance could be amended and brought up for a vote when City Council is confident state changes will be made.
Cassidy told Block Club last week if the votes were there to change the law, the changes would have been made last year. She said some state legislators are not willing to refine the indoor smoking ban to allow for cannabis consumption at a wide range of businesses.
“Is it possible later when the sky doesn’t fall? Maybe, but the reality is there are some pretty powerful forces that for whom the Clean Indoor Air Act is sacred, and changing that was just simply not possible,” she said.
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