CHICAGO — A medical marijuana dispensary planned for the heart of Jefferson Park was approved by the state Friday.
In a news release, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation announced that Curative Health could "acquire medical cannabis from a registered cultivation center for the purpose of dispensing cannabis, paraphernalia, or related supplies and educational materials to registered qualifying patients."
Curative Health already got the OK from city to open a dispensary at 4758 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Nicholas Vita, chief executive officer of Curative Health, which also operates dispensaries in Washington, D.C., Arizona and Massachusetts, previously said the firm's "impeccable" track record made the chance of significant problems unlikely and promised to make substantial contributions to local nonprofit groups if allowed to open.
The dispensary will be allowed to be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., but Curative Health officials told the zoning board they anticipated the dispensary would operate during a more limited time frame.
The dispensary will employ between 12 and 16 people and have two guards, one inside and one outside. One guard will be on duty around-the-clock, officials said.
In addition, the dispensary will be monitored by security cameras connected to the city's emergency operations system, and will also have motion detectors, alarms, fingerprint security doors and back-to-back secure doors.
At a community meeting last year, the proposal drew fire from some who said they were concerned the dispensary would be a magnet for crime, decrease property values and endanger children using the playgrounds at Jefferson Park Memorial Park and Wilson Park as well as the Jefferson Park library.
But others said the dispensary would provide a valuable service that would help people suffering from serious illnesses such as cancer and glaucoma.
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, with no more than two in each township, according to state law.
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.
Union Group of Illinois, which also applied to open a dispensary in Jefferson Township, was approved by the state last week, but they have not announced an exact location and do not have approval from the city yet.
On Friday, the state also granted a Chicago strip club owner permission to open a dispensary in the West Loop.
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