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Marijuana Dispensary In Uptown Unlikely, Officials Say

By Adeshina Emmanuel | September 30, 2014 5:53am
 A company had proposed making the former Nick's Uptown a medical marijuana dispensary.
A company had proposed making the former Nick's Uptown a medical marijuana dispensary.
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Dnainfo/Adeshina Emmanuel

UPTOWN — A recent proposal to put a marijuana dispensary in the former Nick's Uptown bar might have already gone up in smoke.

Nick's was a shuttered late night bar with a 1920s Egyptian Revival-style facade that earned the building Chicago landmark status in August.

Attorney Jon Erickson, co-owner of a company named Advanced Herbal Alternatives, contacted Ald. James Cappleman (46th) and the Buena Park Neighbors Association earlier this month with interest in bringing a dispensary to the one-story structure at 4015 N. Sheridan Road, which is owned by Thorek Hospital and sits adjacent to Howard Brown Health Center.

The company's vow to donate some of its proceeds to Howard Brown initially intrigued Cappleman, according to Tressa Feher, Cappleman's chief of staff.

But Feher said this week that, as the alderman understands it, it's unlikely Advanced Herbal Alternatives even turned in its application to the state by last week's deadline.

"I don't think it's happening," she said, "to be honest with you."

Buena Park Neighbors President Bill Petty said he considers the dispensary idea "a dead issue right now, I don't see it resurrecting."

"My take right now is that it's not going to happen … it's a super super long shot," Petty said, adding that "we got a very vague proposal."

He complained about a lack of information and professionalism on Advanced Herbal Alternative's part.

The company's representatives didn't show up at a meeting to answer questions from neighbors last week, and didn't bother calling ahead to let Buena Park Neighbors know they weren't coming, Petty said.

It's been a week since then, and  the block club leader said "I haven't heard a peep out of 'em."

Meanwhile, neighbors still have unanswered questions related to parking and traffic, how the historic building would be renovated and what security measures the company would take at the would-be marijuana dispensary.

Thorek doesn't yet have an agreement with Advancer Herbal Alternatives to lease the space, according to Petty and Cappleman's office. Both Erickson and Thorek didn't return calls for comment Monday about the dispensary plan.

In addition to permission from the state, Advanced Herbal Alternatives would need a special-use permit from the city to operate, something that would likely have hinged on Cappleman's support. He promised residents last week that their approval or rejection of the dispensary would also determine his stance. 

Marijuana businesses had until Sept. 22 to apply for a limited number of permits.

The state plans on granting 60 dispensary licenses, 13 in Chicago. According to Chicago's rules, dispensaries must be 1,000 feet from schools and daycare centers, can't be in homes and would require a special-use permit from the city.

A public hearing would be held before the city's Zoning Board of Appeals before a permit would be issued.

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