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Community Meeting Set for Medical Marijuana Clinic Near SuperDawg

 Union Group of Illinois has told city offcicials they want to open the dispensary in a vacant storefront at 6428 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Union Group of Illinois has told city offcicials they want to open the dispensary in a vacant storefront at 6428 N. Milwaukee Ave.
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DNAinfo/Heather Cherone (left); DNAinfo/Justin Breen (file)

NORWOOD PARK — A medical marijuana clinic that wants to open near Superdawg will get a chance to make its case to nearby residents May 19 at a community meeting hosted by the Norwood Park Chamber of Commerce.

Union Group of Illinois wants to open a dispensary in a vacant storefront at 6428 N. Milwaukee Ave., city officials said. The firm was one of two groups to win a state license to operate a medical marijuana dispensary in Jefferson Township, which includes most of the Far Northwest Side.

Maria Kunz, who owns a home health-care business based in Skokie, would manage the dispensary, said Silvia Orizaba, a spokeswoman for Union Group.

"Her patients are asking for medical marijuana, and many of them live in the 41st Ward on the Northwest Side," Orizaba said.

The owners of Superdawg have welcomed the potential new neighbor, saying they support any business that would bring more people to the area.

Ald.-elect Anthony Napolitano (41st), who will take office next week, said he would listen to the opinions of the members of the 41st Ward Zoning Advisory Board and residents at the community meeting set for 5 p.m. May 19 at the Roden branch of the Chicago Public Library, 6083 N. Northwest Highway, before making a decision on the proposal.

Heather Cherone says it'll be Ald.-elect Napolitano's first big decision:

The community meeting will give officials from Union Group a chance to educate residents about Illinois' medical marijuana program, which is among the most restrictive in the country, and how the clinic will be operated, Orizaba said.

During the campaign, Napolitano said he did not want to see a medical marijuana clinic open in the 41st Ward. Ald. Mary O'Connor (41st) had vowed to fight the proposal.

The city's Zoning Board of Appeals often, but not always, follows the recommendation of the alderman for projects in his or her ward.

The firm will ask city officials May 28 to approve a special-use permit for the clinic in a now-vacant storefront that once housed the Fitzsimmons medical supply company, officials said.

Plans call for the 21,550-square-foot building to be renovated and a 21-space parking lot added. The clinic would have 24-hour security provided by Silver Star Protection Group, which specializes in protecting dispensaries.

Bea McDonough, the executive director of the Norwood Park chamber, said her organization has not taken an official position on whether the dispensary should be allowed to open on Milwaukee Avenue.

"The chamber is here to support small business and if Union Group and their partners can achieve their mission safely while medically helping others then we can support them," McDonough said.

Of the seven companies that applied for one of the two medical marijuana licenses available in Jefferson Township, Union Group of Illinois submitted the top-rated application as judged by state officials during former Gov. Pat Quinn's administration.

The applications were ranked based on a variety of criteria, including business plan, security, expertise and community benefits, state officials said.

Dispensaries must be 1,000 feet from schools and day care centers and can't be in residences, according to city regulations.

Curative Health is set to open the other dispensary on the Far Northwest Side in Jefferson Park near Lawrence and Milwaukee avenues.

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