JEFFERSON PARK — A Far Northwest Side smoke shop shut down for building violations has permanently closed, and the owner hopes to start over after a judge dismissed charges he illegally sold cannabis in the store.
Arcan Abuhashish, owner of Supreme Smoke Shop and Event Space formerly at 4766 N. Milwaukee Ave., was charged with two felonies and two misdemeanors in September after authorities said he illegally sold cannabis to undercover officers three times this summer. Cook County Judge Edward Maloney dismissed his case last week, court records show.
Arcan said he is glad the case was closed and called the charges “nothing major.” The case was closed because there was no evidence, he said.
“I never served anyone weed — the only thing I am guilty of is smoking [marijuana] indoors,” Abuhashish said. “It’s wrong to smoke it indoors, but that’s the only thing I was doing in there. I did not sell drugs.”
In conjunction with Abuhashish’s arrest, the city’s Department of Buildings shut down his shop with an emergency order after inspectors found rotten or broken columns, no smoke or carbon monoxide detectors and stored flammable materials. Inspectors also found plumbing and electrical violations.
Abuhashish moved his shop out of the Milwaukee Avenue space last month. He said he closed it because of squabbles with the landlord and the building violations not being fixed.
“The best thing to do was to get out of there,” he said.
Mario Loukas, the building owner, said he kicked out Abuhashish for problems he caused, including the cannabis charges.
Aside from the cannabis charges, the shop faced other setbacks in recent months.
Someone broke into the store in August, police said. The burglar broke the shop’s front glass, but nothing was taken, police said.
The shop, which opened two years ago, has also been the target of bigoted vandalism and graffiti, Abuhashish said.
Blakeslee, who prosecutors said has white supremacist affiliations, used to work for Abuhashish, washing the shop’s windows and walking Abuhashish’s dog while he worked, Abuhashish previously said.
Blakeslee is still in jail, according to the Cook County Sheriff’s Office.
A “for lease” sign hangs on the smoke shop’s old window. Loukas is looking for a tenant and plans to fix the building repairs when he finds someone, he said.
Those interested in leasing the storefront can call Loukas at 847-791-6797, he said.
Abuhashish is trying to put the past behind him and wants to open a new business outside of the city after winter is over — but it won’t be a smoke shop, he said.
Abuhashish is still undecided on what the business will be, but he leans towards entering the real estate industry, he said.
“I feel like I have to keep going, keep trying for me and my wife, my family. … All I need right now is to focus on them and my next business,” he said.
Listen to the Block Club Chicago podcast: