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Proposal from 'Pot Baron' to Open Jeff Park Dispensary Approved

By  Heather Cherone and Ted Cox | December 18, 2014 7:18pm | Updated on December 19, 2014 7:53pm

  A woman dubbed a "pot baron" told city officials Friday the   medical marijuana   dispensary she wants to open near Lawrence and Milwaukee avenues would benefit the community.
Euflora Medical Marijuana Proposal
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JEFFERSON PARK — City officials Friday approved plans for a medical marijuana dispensary in the heart of Jefferson Park proposed by a woman dubbed a "pot baron."

The city's Zoning Board of Appeals unanimously agreed to issue Euflora Health Center, which is owned by Jamie Perino, a special-use permit to open a dispensary at 4760½ N. Milwaukee Ave.

Perino told MSNBC, which profiled her as part of their series on so-called "Pot Barons," that she wants to make her dispensaries "the Apple store of weed."

Euflora operates both medical marijuana and recreational marijuana dispensaries in Colorado, where both uses of the drug are legal.

Perino told the board that the feedback she'd received from nearby businesses had been "neutral or actually very positive" and that community response had been "surprisingly supportive."

Ald. John Arena (45th), whose office is on the same block as the proposed dispensary, took no position on Euflora's application.

If approved, Matt Boumaroun, the owner of the 25 Degrees restaurant on the Near North Side, will operate the dispensary, Perino said.

Kenneth Boudreau, who has spent almost 30 years in Chicago law enforcement, will be in charge of security. The dispensary will use off-duty Chicago Police officers as guards, Perino said.

The vault for the goods and money will be located in the center of the dispensary to address the recent rash of smash-and-grab robberies where criminals drove cars through windows, Boudreau said.

City officials approved Curative Health's request last month for a special-use permit for a dispensary at 4758 N. Milwaukee Ave., two storefronts away from Euflora's proposed dispensary.

Arena also took no position on that request, saying the reaction of the community was split.

The dispensaries must also be licensed by state officials, and it is unclear when those decisions will be announced.

It is unlikely two dispensaries will open in Jefferson Park, Arena has said.

State officials have said they plan to issue no more than two licenses for dispensaries in Jefferson Township, which includes most of the Far Northwest Side.

A third application for a special permit in Jefferson Township and the 45th Ward has been made by California-based IL Grown Medicine at 4739 W. Montrose Ave. in Old Irving Park. A community meeting has not yet been scheduled on that proposal.

Dispensaries must be 1,000 feet from schools and daycare centers and can't be in residences, according to city regulations. Thirteen of the 60 Illinois dispensaries can be in the city, according to state law.

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