WEST LOOP — On Monday night, Dispensary 33 will become the third company to pitch plans for a Randolph Street dispensary to West Loop neighbors.
With the state’s stay at home order preventing large gatherings, the West Loop Community Organization and Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th) will co-host a virtual meeting on Dispensary 33’s plan to open at 1152 W. Randolph St. at 6 p.m. Monday on Zoom. A link to the meeting can be found on the neighborhood group’s website.
The pot shop would occupy nearly 5,000 square feet of space on the first floor of a building on Randolph’s restaurant row. The space is nearly twice as big as it’s flagship dispensary in Andersonville.
Touting the company as “a locally owned Chicago store,” co-owner Paul Lee said the West Loop is a “great cultural fit” for the company, which won the right to open a new dispensary in the booming neighborhood at a zoning lottery last year. Dispensary 33 opened Chicago’s first medical weed dispensary in Andersonville and it was one of the first dispensaries to serve recreational customers when weed went legal Jan. 1.
Nature’s Care Company, owned by Acreage Holdings, is currently building out a pot shop down the street at 810 W. Randolph St. in the neighborhood, having already been through the city’s arduous zoning process for new dispensaries.
NuMed Chicago held its own virtual community meeting on Zoom earlier this month for a dispensary they hope to open at 1141 W. Randolph, across the street from Dispensary 33’s desired spot. NuMed previously wanted to open at 935 W. Randolph St. but dropped those plans after pushback from The Haymarket Center, a rehabilitation clinic.
Companies hoping to open weed dispensaries must host a community meeting before they can seek a special-use permit from the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals. The meeting must be held in the ward in which the company is seeking to open, which has caused confusion for companies who are pressing forward with virtual meetings during the pandemic.
The required community meeting has not been waived due to the pandemic, according to guidelines issued by the Zoning Board of appeals.
“During the pandemic, applicants should hold meetings in accordance with orders from the State of Illinois and City of Chicago. While simply holding a virtual meeting does not satisfy the in-ward community meeting requirement, additional or simultaneous virtual meetings can also be implemented to supplement,” the meeting in the ward.
“Those details will need to be shared with the Zoning Board during the special-use hearing so that the Zoning Board can determine if they are acceptable,” the guideline read.
During NuMed’s meeting, zoning attorney Rolando Acosta said he believed the virtual meeting will fulfill the community meeting requirement, as he was physically in the 27th Ward and the company allowed people to attend in person at his office, although no one was present.
Dispensary 33 will seek a zoning change from City Council before seeking a special-use permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals.
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