CHICAGO — Two indoor weed farms are being pitched on the city’s South Side and a weed shop aims to expand its footprint in Midway.
Sales are going so well at Midway Dispensary, located at 5648 S. Archer Ave. in the city’s southwest cannabis zone, they are seeking to expand their existing pot shop. The dispensary is located just a few blocks north of Midway Airport and Neal McQueeney, principal officer of the pot shop, said they serve as a welcome center for Chicago.
“That was one of the coolest things to see, is a person with a garment bag and roll away suitcase waiting in line,” he said, “…most of them it’s the first stop when they arrive, but there are some that are getting their medicine before they travel.”
The dispensary is permitted to sell both medical and recreational marijuana, although they have restricted recreational sales to the weekend because of a lack of supply in the market. The owners always planned to expand the building when demand was high enough.
“We bought this building, which included next door and the parking lot, so the plan was always, when the demand was there, renovate the buildings and combine them,” he said.
Midway is permitted to open a second, standalone recreational weed shop in the city’s central district. Late last year they sought advice from the city’s zoning administrator on opening at 676 N. LaSalle St. in River North, but have not filed a formal application for the location.
McQueeney said they are still looking at the site.
“We’re going through our due diligence and dotting the “I’s” crossing the “T’s” and making sure that’s a viable property.” he said.
A zoning change that would allow for Midway to expand was introduced last week at City Council. Two other ordinances were proposed to allow for indoor weed farms to open were also introduced.
The other two proposed ordinances were introduced on behalf of Ayman Haswah, principal of Guaranteed Investments, and would allow for a cannabis craft grow center to be developed at two locations on the South Side” 8347-8357 S. Halsted St. in Auburn Gresham and 7401 S. State in Park Manor.
The location on Halsted is currently owned by New Faith Missionary Baptist Church but a representative at the church said the lot sought to grow pot is occupied by a vacant building the church owns.
It is unclear if Haswah would open a craft grow at both locations. He could not be immediately reached for comment.
If advanced, the locations could create competition with another a craft grow facility at E. 95th St near Pullman being developed by DL3 Reality to be the first weed farm to open in the City. Last week, DL3’s zoning attorney Rolando Acosta told Block Club that the development company’s principal Leon Walker could become an owner of the business that could run the indoor weed farm. DL3’s zoning change was approved by the City Council on Wednesday.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture will issue up to 40 craft grower licenses state-wide by July 1, with another being doled out by December 2021.
Craft grow facilities are limited to 5,000 square feet of canopy to grow weed. They have been hailed by local and state officials as a less expensive way to enter the cannabis industry, and unlike larger cannabis cultivation centers, a dispensary may be co-located on the same property.
The measures will next head to Committee on Zoning before approval at the full City Council.
If the zoning changes are permitted, they will still need to apply for a special-use permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals.
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