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CITY HALL — As many as nine new recreational cannabis dispensaries could clear a crucial regulatory hurdle during a special meeting of the Chicago Zoning Board of Appeals scheduled for March 6, potentially almost doubling the number of pot shops allowed to operate in the city, according to officials.
The board will consider “cannabis-specific” applications at the first of its kind special meeting. The formal agenda for the meeting has not yet been released.
A spokesperson for Cresco Labs said the company expects to seek approval during the meeting for at least two dispensaries, including its proposal to move its Sunnyside Lakeview dispensary from its 900-square-foot storefront at 3812 N. Clark St. to a 5,000-square-foot space at 3524 N. Clark St.
Cresco has also filed an application to open a recreational dispensary at 436 N. Clark St., city records show.
Related: New dispensaries face steep climb for approval as legal pot sales get underway
The company Windy City Cannabis is also planning to present its plans at the meeting, according to a spokesperson. The firm has submitted applications to open a dispensary at 923 W. Weed St., and another at an undefined location in the city’s West Cannabis District.
The following cannabis companies have filed applications with the Zoning Board of Appeals to open new dispensaries, according to the Chicago Department of Planning and Development:
- Pharmacann, for planned dispensaries at 1001 W. North Ave. and 444 N. LaSalle St. A community meeting was held Feb. 6 to discuss the LaSalle Street proposal, and another is scheduled for Feb. 18 to discuss the North Avenue site plan.
- Natures Care Company, for a planned dispensary at 810 W. Randolph St. A community meeting was held to discuss the proposal on Feb. 6.
- Numed Chicago, for a planned dispensary at 935 W. Randolph St. A community meeting was held to discuss the proposal on Feb. 5.
- PDI Medical, for a planned dispensary at 60 W. Superior St. A community meeting was held to discuss the proposal on Feb. 5.
- Green House Group, for a planned dispensary at 612 N. Wells St. A community meeting was held to discuss the proposal on Feb. 7.
- MOCA Modern Cannabis, for a planned dispensary at 214-232 W. Ohio St. A community meeting was held to discuss the proposal on Jan. 29.
As of Friday, no company had applied for a special-use permit to open a dispensary in the city’s Southwest, Southeast or Far South cannabis zoning districts.
Under an original version of the city’s cannabis zoning rules, dispensaries only needed approval from the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals before opening. But in a last-minute compromise designed to get members of the City Council Black Caucus on board, the city barred dispensaries from opening in B3 or C1 zones, meaning that owners in most retail districts would have to apply for zoning changes.
So far, Sunnyside Lakeview is the only recreational dispensary to receive zoning approval from the City Council. The measure cleared the council’s zoning committee on a narrow vote in December, after aldermen grilled Cresco Labs executives over the racial make-up of their staff and investor pool.
Related: ‘Give the brothers a piece:’ Aldermen narrowly OK dispensary amid criticism over lack of Black owners
The Zoning Board of Appeals has not approved any special-use permits for new dispensaries since Gov. JB Pritzkersigned the law legalizing recreational sales of the substance last summer.
The 11 dispensaries currently licensed to sell recreational pot in the city had previously been licensed to sell medical cannabis. They were automatically allowed to begin recreational sales on Jan. 1.