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Medical Marijuana Licenses Approved in Wicker Park, Lakeview and More

By  Mauricio Peña Heather Cherone Stephanie Lulay and Alisa Hauser | February 2, 2015 6:00pm | Updated on February 2, 2015 11:21pm

 Several applications to dispense medical marijuana in Illinois were approved late Monday by Gov. Bruce Rauner.
Several applications to dispense medical marijuana in Illinois were approved late Monday by Gov. Bruce Rauner.
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CHICAGO — Medical marijuana clinics hoping to open shop in a former pizza place in Andersonville, a long vacant bar in Lakeview and in a storefront in Wicker Park made Gov. Bruce Rauner's list of dispensaries that will get coveted operating licenses.

The governor, in a late Monday afternoon announcement, approved a series of licenses and permits to grow and sell marijuana in Illinois — including some in Chicago neighborhoods — but he also left some up in the air, pending further review.

Several of the applications were for clinics trying to open in Chicago, which is slated to get 13 dispensary licenses and one cultivation license.

It's all part of the state's effort to launch a long-stalled effort to allow contractors to grow and dispense medical marijuana to patients who qualify.

 A rendering of Curative Health's proposed medical marijuana dispensary near Lawrence and Milwaukee avenues.
A rendering of Curative Health's proposed medical marijuana dispensary near Lawrence and Milwaukee avenues.
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DNAinfo/Heather Cherone

The task of handing out the coveted licenses was expected to be completed by Gov. Pat Quinn before he left office last month. While his staffers completed a vetting process, Quinn ultimately passed the baton to Rauner, who defeated Quinn in last fall's election.

Rauner agreed with some of Quinn's picks, but delayed some others.

The governor approved the proposal submitted by Professional Pharmacy Management, a group that wants to open a clinic at 1368 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Wicker Park.

Professional Pharmacy Management is owned by pharmacist Barry Golin, owner of Barry's Drugs, and Daniel and Doug Marks, brothers who own Emporium Arcade Bar. Both the pharmacy and arcade bar are neighbors of the proposed dispensary site.

But Rauner's administration put a hold on a clinic proposed by Perry Mandera, who owns VIP's, a Gentlemen's Club on the Near North Side. Mandera hoped to open Custom Strains, a medical marijuana dispensary in a vacant building at 1105 W. Fulton St. 

According to the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation score sheet, Mandera's application was one of two high-scoring proposals in the city's West Township district out of 10 proposals submitted.

And Rauner's administration said it was one of five dispensaries statewide "subject to further review."

In a statement, the governor's office said it will conduct a "comprehensive review of the evaluation and selection process" used by Quinn's administration.

The state is awarding licenses by "district," areas that coincide with townships around the state.

— In Lakeview Township, which includes a chunk of the North Side's lakefront, the state awarded licenses to The Cannabis Group and MedMar, Inc.

The Cannabis Group wants to open a clinic at 5001-03 N. Clark St., the former home of the Pie Hole Pizza Joint.

MedMar wants to open a dispensary at 2843 N. Halsted St., a long-vacant Lakeview site that once housed a bar.

— In Chicago's Jefferson Township, which includes parts of the Northwest Side, the state approved a license for an operator who does not yet have a site picked out or zoning approval.

Union Group of Illinois got the nod Monday from the state, but owner Dmitrey Stebley said he did not know where the dispensary would be located. His firm has not submitted an application to city officials for a special-use permit to open a dispensary, according to the Chicago Zoning Board of Appeals.

The two clinics that went through the zoning approval did not get licenses Monday, although one is still left to hand out. State officials said a second license would be issued in Jefferson Township "after further review."

Union Group was the top-rated license in Jefferson Township. The No. 2 rated application in Jefferson Township came from Curative Health, which already has received a special-use permit from city officials to open the dispensary at 4758 N. Milwaukee Ave.

However, the rankings by Quinn administration officials showed they might have had reservations about awarding the license to Nicholas Vita, the vice chairman of Curative Health. A spokeswoman for Curative Health did not immediately return messages seeking a response.

State officials also declined to issue a license to Euflora Health Center to open a dispensary at 4760 N. Milwaukee Ave. That firm's application was ranked fifth of the seven applications. Euflora also has the city's permission to open its dispensary.

— In Lake Township, which includes the southwest portion of Chicago, the state awarded a license to Maribis of Chicago, which wants to open at 4568 S. Archer Ave. in Brighton Park.

Fewer than 3 miles away, Chicago Alternative Health Center will open a dispensary at 5648 S. Archer Ave. in Garfield Ridge, right next to an office for the Securitas security outfit.

— In Hyde Park Township, the state awarded licenses to Harborside Illinois Grown Medicine, and Chicago Alternative Health Center.

— In Rogers Park Township, the state gave the nod to 420 Capital Management.

Here is the full list of licenses being awarded.

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