LAKEVIEW — A mammoth pot shop is set to open near Wrigley Field by the end of the year.
Sunnyside Lakeview, a dispensary owned by Chicago-based cannabis giant Cresco Labs, will move three blocks south along Clark Street to a large building formerly occupied by John Barleycorn.
The Zoning Board of Appeals granted Cresco Labs’ a special use permit to sell medical and recreational weed at the new building, 3524 N. Clark St., on Friday. The permit is conditioned on the company relinquishing the permits it holds to sell at its current location, 3812 N. Clark St.
That condition is a formality. Cresco officials said during the meeting they anticipate being able to accommodate 2,000 customers a day at the new location, up from the 1,200 it typically sees at its current spot.
“It’s exciting to win unanimous support to relocate our Lakeview Sunnyside to a much larger and optimized location,” Jason Erkes, chief communications officer for Cresco Labs, said after the meeting.
Erkes said they hope to move in the next four to six weeks, pending final inspections from city and state regulators.
The company has sought to relocate to the larger digs for two years, but it was blocked by state law that disallowed existing medical marijuana dispensaries to relocate after they were converted to dual-use dispensaries — selling medical and recreational weed — when recreational sales began in January 2020.
An amendment approved this summer to the state law cleared that hiccup, allowing dual-use dispensaries to relocate within the same geographic boundary tied to its medical license.
The new store on Clark will be more than 10,000 square feet and will have 21 registers, while there are just three at the current location.
Cresco CEO Charlie Bachtell estimated moving to the larger location will bring in an extra $4.5 million in tax revenue for the state in 2022.
The pot shop will be open 9 a.m.-10 p.m. daily, and customers will be able to order inside the store or pre-order online before making the purchase at the store.
Workers at the current Sunnyside Lakeview location voted to unionize in 2020 and have since reached a contract with the company. That contract and unionized workforce will carry over to the new location, Erkes said.
The union vote was solely for the specific dispensary and did not affect other dispensaries the company owns. It operates dispensaries across Illinois and nine other states. The company is traded on the Canadian stock exchange.
Bachtell said the company’s current Wrigleyville dispensary location will be converted into a learning facility to train newly minted minority-owned companies in a dispensary environment.The training facility will not be permitted to handle or sell cannabis. The company did not give a firm timeline on when it would open.
The Cannabis Equity Coalition Illinois organized against the move and filed a letter of opposition with the zoning board.
The group argued Cresco should not be permitted to move until the state’s new batch of conditional dispensary licenses are freed from current litigation stalling their final approval.
For the first time in Illinois, the new round of licensees includes minority-owned firms.
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