CITY HALL — A proposed Ukrainian Village dispensary for medical marijuana would specialize in drugs that don't get patients high — and expects to deal with a larger clientele because of it.
Organic Leaf Medical Dispensaries, at a proposed location of 744 N. Damen Ave., won a special-use permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals Friday, clearing a hurdle toward state authorization.
Scott Bergin, who would relocate to Chicago to run the dispensary, is also an owner of EdiPure, a business specializing in edible marijuana products and with both dispensaries and cultivation centers in Colorado, Washington state, California and Nevada. He said his products tend toward cannabidol, or CBD, rather than tetrahydrocannabiol, or THC, and don't make patients high, although they still provide the relief patients seek.
Because of that, Bergin said, he expected the dispensary to draw clients from afar and not just locally. He estimated the business would deal with 25 to 50 patients a day and perhaps grow to as many as 200 a day.
"I am the best at what we do," Bergin said, adding that he would also be seeking to run a cultivation center in Illinois and provide his own products.
Bergin said the business would be open the maximum hours of 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., and would have 30 security cameras monitored around the clock both on and off site. It would keep two security guards on duty and offer valet service for patients.
Board Chairman Jonathan Swain and Commissioner Sam Toia pressed Bergin on how permanent his relocation would be to Chicago, as he owns businesses in other states. Yet Bergin said he was committed to stay and to deal with Illinois' strict laws for medical marijuana.
"Illinois has some challenges, let's just say, in regulations," Bergin said, but insisted he was ready to meet those challenges.
Otherwise, the business faced little questioning from the board and token public opposition.
Another dispensary, Euflora Health Center, at 4760 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Jefferson Park, also earned a special-use permit. It's owned by Jamie Perino, another Coloradan who does business in both medical and recreational marijuana. MSNBC has dubbed her a "pot baron" and quoted her as saying she wants to make Euflora "the Apple Store of weed."
Other proposed dispensaries at 3433 N. Pulaski Rd., 2843 N. Halsted St., 1964 W. Peterson Ave., and 3118 N. Harlem Ave. were all continued, while Ronald McDonald House withdrew an application for a dispensary at 211 E. Grand Ave.
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