WEST LOOP — Despite some neighborhood opposition, the city approved a proposed Fulton Market medical marijuana dispensary owned by Perry Mandera Friday.
The city's Zoning Board of Appeals granted a special-use permit to Custom Strains, a proposed dispensary at 1105. W. Fulton St., owned by trucking executive and strip club owner Mandera. The board's move means that the dispensary, which will also require a state license, is one step closer to opening.
The Fulton dispensary is the second in the West Loop to be approved by the city. A proposed dispensary at 955 W. Lake St., called the Clinic West Loop, earned a special-use permit in October. The Fulton Street dispensary and Lake Street dispensary are about three blocks away from each other.
The board approved the Fulton dispensary despite "substantial community opposition," said Roger Romanelli, executive director of the Randolph/Fulton Market Association.
At the meeting, Romanelli said that the Fulton plan has "significant logistical problems" in parking and delivery, referencing a 2-feet curb at the site. He also talked of "substantial credibility deficiencies" in the dispensary's letters of support, but Chairman Jonathan Swain waved that off.
Two neighbors also testified against the Fulton Market proposal Friday. Some Fulton Market business owners, including Seth Hanau, who co-owns Cemitas Puebla Fulton Market, have previously said the dispensary was "not the right fit" for the neighborhood.
Bill Mondi, an immediate neighbor of the proposed location, pointed out this is the second site to seek a special-use permit for medical marijuana in the immediate area. He wondered who gets it.
"That's a decision for the state to make," Swain said. "It's not for us to make."
"I don't think this is a good thing," said Ted Wallhaus. "I just don't think that's good for the neighborhood and where it's headed."
He pointed to the abundance of kids in the area, adding, "I just don't think it's appropriate."
Ald. Walter Burnett, Jr. (27th) did not testify in support of, or in opposition of, either dispensary at the Zoning Board of Appeals meetings. But in October, Burnett, who has known Mandera for decades, said several people in the community opposed the Fulton dispensary plan.
"Personally, I don't know if what he's trying to do is the right fit for him. Me? I wouldn't do it," Burnett said at the time.
Mandera has hired Hunter Sutterfield, who runs a medical marijuana dispensary in Tempe, Ariz., to run the Fulton dispensary, Sutterfield said at the ZBA meeting Friday.
Sutterfield, the only applicant to discuss medical marijuana pricing Friday, said Custom Strains would charge $50 for 1/8 oz. and $20-$30 for a gram. The prices are consistent with street value, he said.
If the dispensary lands a state license, Mandera, plans to offer a 10 percent discount for veterans. He said he served in the Marines.
The board also awarded a special-use permit for a medical marijuana cultivation center, also owned by Mandera. It would be built in Hegewisch.
In a day heavy with new applications for medical-marijuana dispensaries, the board also approved a permit for a Jefferson Park facility, as well as dispensaries at 4568 S. Archer Ave., 5648 S. Archer Ave., 2723 N. Elston Ave. and 500 W. 18th St. The board denied a permit for a Wicker Park dispensary at 1811 W. North Ave. after questioning the applicants on what Swain called "subjective" security arrangements.
The state plans on granting 60 dispensary licenses, 13 of which will be located in Chicago.
Before the end of the year, the state is expected to notify dispensary applicants whose licenses have been approved. More than 200 applications were filed.
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: