NORTHALSTED — An adult-use cannabis dispensary could be coming to Halsted Street.
Edie Moore, an Army veteran and leader in cannabis policy reform, has partnered with LGBTQ civil rights pioneers Art Johnston and José “Pepe” Peña to open a dispensary in the former Town Hall Pub space at 3340 N. Halsted St., according to an announcement.
The collaborators will present plans for the dispensary during a community meeting 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 13 at the 19th District Police Station, 850 W. Addison St. No registration is required.
The team needs a special-use permit from City Council and building permits to move forward. As with all cannabis shops, it would also require a special-use permit from the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals and a state inspection.
Moore secured multiple licenses through the state’s social equity program, which was designed to diversify the overwhelmingly white cannabis industry, according to the Sun-Times.
If approved, the dispensary would be the first to open in the Northalsted LGBTQ district. It would be across the street from Sidetrack, the sprawling gay bar that Johnston and Peña founded in 1982 as a 900-square-foot hole in the wall.
Johnston is also co-founder of Equality Illinois, the oldest and largest LGBTQ rights organization in the state.
Peña has worked in Chicago’s gay bar scene since 1970 after fleeing from Cuba several years earlier, according to the announcement.
Moore, who got her start as an advocate for cannabis policy reform when her mother started seeking medical cannabis in 2016, is co-founder and first executive director of Chicago’s chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and co-founder of the Illinois Minority Cannabis Business Owners Association.
Moore has been an outspoken advocate for criminal justice and Black and Brown ownership of cannabis businesses.
“The ‘war on drugs’ disproportionately impacted communities of color, a reality that is even more dire for LGBTQ people of color,” Moore said in a statement. “Partnering with my friends and allies, Art and Pep, brings together our shared commitment to equity, a passion for safe and accessible cannabis and a recognition of a need for more safe spaces in Chicago, especially for queer folks and people of color.”
Listen to “It’s All Good: A Block Club Chicago Podcast”: