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Gold Coast Weed Rush Is On. Cresco Dumps River North Location, Wants To Race Rival For Prized Dispensary

The law doesn't allow two weed dispensaries within 1,500 feet of each other. But both Cresco Labs and PharmaCann are asking to build near each other in the Gold Coast.

The proposed site of Cresco Lab's Gold Coast dispensary at 29 W. Division.
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CHICAGO — Cresco Labs has abandoned plans to open a new weed dispensary at 60 W. Superior Street in River North in favor of a location a bit further north in the Gold Coast.

Jason Erkes, spokesman for Cresco Labs, told Block Club the company is now hoping to open at 29 W. Division Street, the site of a closed Fifth Third Bank branch.

He said the new spot has more foot traffic and is a better for a retail dispensary. The location sits near the bustling Rush and Division bar corridor.

The company held a community meeting for the location in River North on February 5 and was on the agenda of the March 6 Zoning Board of Appeals. But Cresco has since withdrawn the application, according to the city. The board must grant a special use permit to a dispensary before sales can begin.

The new Gold Coast location is within a 1,500-foot radius of where PharmaCann is hoping to open at 12-14 W. Maple Street, setting up a race to be the first to build out the dispensaries and pass a required state inspection before only one of them will receive a license. State law prevents dispensaries from being located within 1,500 feet of each other. 

The proposed site of PharmaCann’s dispensary at 12 W. Maple St.

According to a Friday newsletter from 42nd ward Ald. Brendan Reilly, the two companies — both headquartered in Chicago and considered large players in the weed industry — will hold community meetings for their desired locations at 6 p.m. Thursday. 

Cresco Labs will hold its meeting at the Hilton, 198 E. Delaware Place. PharmaCann’s will be at Dave and Buster’s, 1030 N. Clark Street.

While Reilly sent out the notice, both locations are in the 2nd ward of Ald. Brian Hopkins.

Each company won the right to open two dispensaries in the city’s central cannabis district at a November lottery.

Cresco Labs is also hoping to open at 436 N. Clark Street, and PharmaCann has applied for 444 N. LaSalle Drive.

For those locations, the two companies, along with Greenhouse Group and MOCA Modern Cannabis, are in a four way race to open in a small section of River North.

All four are on the special cannabis-only Friday meeting of the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Erkes said Cresco Labs hopes the application for 29 W. Division Street will be on the agenda of the March 20 meeting of the zoning board.

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