ANDERSONVILLE — The Cannabis Group LLC wants to open a medical marijuana clinic at 5001-03 N. Clark St., the former home of the Pie Hole Pizza Joint.
The group, which lists its address as 30 E. Adams St., is seeking a special use zoning permit "to establish a medical cannabis dispensary organization" at the address.
But before Cannabis Group can apply for a business license, it must first receive approval from the Zoning Board of Appeals.
The Cannabis Group’s application is on the board's agenda for its January 16 meeting.
Michael Synowieski, an attorney with Daley and Georges law firm, which is representing The Cannabis Group, filed an application for the permit on Nov. 24. He did not respond to requests for comment.
Joe Poole, chief of staff to Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th), said his office is working to gather details of the proposal and could potentially facilitate a meeting between community groups and The Cannabis Group's owners.
While Poole said Pawar is generally supportive of the medicinal cannabis issue, he will remain "neutral" on whether the dispensary should open on Clark Street until his office can gather more feedback from the community.
"The Alderman was supportive of Rep. [Greg] Harris' (D-Chicago) movement to make this legal in the state," Poole said. "There's people that need this that are either chronically ill or terminally ill."
Poole encouraged members of the community to voice their opinions through the Zoning Board of Appeals pending any specific neighborhood meetings.
The Winona Foster Carmen Winnemac Block Club is also encouraging residents and community groups to weigh in on the issue.
Mat Olson, treasurer of the Winona, Foster, Carmen, Winnemac (WFCW) Block Club, said residents and business owners within 250 feet of the proposed site, along with the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce and community leaders, will soon meet so they can "have a voice" in the permit's approval.
Olson said while many are "very divided" on the medical marijuna issue in general, business owners and block club members he's spoken with are concerned the State of Illinois is overstepping its boundaries when it comes to approving neighborhood businesses.
"It becomes not whether you're for or against it, but it's, 'I don't want it in my neighborhood,'" Olson said.
He said his group has already spoke with Pawar's staff, as well as other residents, who hope to partner with local and state representatives as well as The Cannabis Group owners to determine a "better process before approval."
"The state is doing one thing and the City of Chicago is doing another," Olson said.
Nick Wolff, Andersonville Chamber of Commerce's director of economic development and business planning, declined to comment saying his team was in the "process of gathering input from our board of directors."
On Nov. 21 the Zoning Board of Appeals approved six special use applications to establish a special use medical cannabis dispensary, and one application for a cannabis cultivation center. Of the 13 total applications, one was denied and six were deferred until the next meeting on December 19.
State officials must still give approval. By law, Illinois will allow 60 dispensaries and 21 cultivation centers statewide. Of those approved, 13 dispensaries and one cultivation center will be allowed within Chicago city limits. According to the city’s rules for zoning, cannabis-related businesses must be located between 1,000 and 2,500 feet from schools, residential areas and day care centers.
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