WEST LOOP — After facing pushback from a rehabilitation center, a weed company planned to move their weed shop further west on Randolph.
Now, the company’s facing pushback again — this time, from a chef opening a restaurant nearby.
NuMed Chicago revealed its new West Loop dispensary plan, which would be located at 1141 W. Randolph St., on Zoom Friday night. The meeting was held virtually on Zoom because of coronavirus.
The new plan comes after NuMed abandoned plans to open at 935 W. Randolph St. after Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th) and Haymarket Center director Dr. Dan Lustig opposed the dispensary location. Lustig said the location would cause issues for patients of the rehabilitation center.
Under new plans, the dispensary would be located on the buildings first floor, and owners would use the second floor for customer overflow. The dispensary would be open from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. daily, would have security cameras, motion detectors and an on-site security guard, the NuMed team told neighbors Friday night.
Chef Federico Comacchio plans to open Gioia Ristorante + Pastificio, a new Italian restaurant at 1133 W. Randolph St., next door to the proposed weed dispensary. Comacchio said dispensary lines would have a “negative” impact on his restaurant and would be a distraction to diners eating on the sidewalk patio.
Zoning attorney Rolando Acosta said NuMed won’t let customers line up outside the dispensary. They will have a on-site security guard to prevent people from congregating out front, he said.
Comacchio still said he’s not a fan of the plan.
“We can discuss where the line is going to end up, but overall, it’s not good for our business model,” Comacchio said.
Peter Contos, an organizer with Cannabis Equity Illinois Coalition, said the group asked NuMed to sign a community benefits agreement back in February but had not heard back from the company.
The coalition, a collection of activists and community groups, has called on neighborhood associations, has previously called on aldermen and city officials to withhold their support of any new dispensary unless it signed on to the CBA.
Contos said NuMed had “good goals” for social equity but wondered why the company had “not engaged” with the group and asked how they could work together to implement those goals.
Acosta said there goals were set before being contacted by the coalition.
NuMed officials said 75 percent of staff at the West Loop dispensary will be hired from communities disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs.
NuMed is also helping social equity applicants apply for licenses and offering start-up business advice, officials said.
“They do mirror some of your goals…We have no aversion to your goals, we actually think we are vey consistent your goals. [We] are happy to talk more with you guys,” Acosta said of the CBA group.
Ald. Burnett said he wants to know how NuMed will address the nearby restaurant owner’s concerns and whether they will work with the Cannabis Equity Illinois Coalition.
In March, NuMed Chicago delayed its weed plan after executives accidentally hosted its community meeting outside the 27th Ward, officials said. It’s a requirement that meetings be scheduled in the ward the dispensary will be located in.
NuMed’s application is slated to be considered at the May 15 Zoning Board of Appeals hearing.
Asked whether the Zoom meeting met the ordinance requirement to hold the meeting inside the 27th Ward, Acosta believed it did, arguing that he was sitting in his office at 1030 W. Chicago Ave., which he had opened up to residents if they wanted to attend in person.
Nature’s Care Company at 810 W. Randolph St. has already received approval from the Zoning Board of Appeals. Andersonville-based Dispensary33 has also signed a letter of intent to open a dispensary across from NuMed’s proposed location at 1152 W. Randolph St.
If approved, this will be a second location for NuMed. They currently operate a dispensary at 1308 W North Ave. in Bucktown.
Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.
Subscribe to Block Club Chicago. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.