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Marijuana Dispensary Near Superdawg Advances Without Support of Alderman

 City officials are scheduled to decide Thursday whether to allow the dispensary to open.
Medical Marijuana Dispensary Proposed Near Superdawg
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NORWOOD PARK — A proposal to open a medical marijuana dispensary near Superdawg is scheduled to be considered by city officials Thursday without the support of Ald. Anthony Napolitano (41st).

Napolitano, who has been in office 10 days, said the community needed more time to weigh the merits of the proposal from Union Group of Illinois to open a dispensary in a vacant storefront at 6428-30 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Napolitano said he was "aggravated and upset" that there had been only one community meeting about the proposal.

"One community meeting is not enough," Napolitano said.

A majority of those who attended that meeting May 19 objected to the plan to transform the vacant storefront near Devon and Nagle avenues into a dispensary, and many shouted down those who praised the proposed dispensary as a way for the seriously ill to get access to life-changing medicine.

"My personal opinion is that I don't see it here," Napolitano said. "But enough people don't know enough to decide yes or no."

Napolitano said he would ask the city's Zoning Board of Appeals, which is scheduled to consider the matter at 2 p.m. Thursday in Room 200 at City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle St., to delay a vote on the matter.

If it moves forward, Napolitano said he would take no position on the proposal.

"I see both sides," Napolitano said, adding that his father suffers from leukemia and several close friends have died from cancer.

John Davis, one of three partners in Union Group of Illinois, said the dispensary would be a "good neighbor and a revenue generator" if approved by city officials. The dispensary would be run by Maria Kunz, who owns a home health care business in Skokie.

The dispensary would employ 10 people, and Union Group said it would donate 4 percent of its profits to "local charities and civic groups." The dispensary is expected to bring in $1.6 million in profit in its first year, which would mean $64,000 for local groups, company officials said.

If approved, the dispensary would operate from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day, and be patrolled around the clock by armed guards using a state-of-the-art camera system, officials said.

In addition to adding 21 parking spaces, Union Group plans to build a secure garage to allow marijuana to be delivered to the facility and cash removed. Otherwise, the 21,500-square-foot building would remain unchanged, 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.

Curative Health has the approval of both the state and city to open a dispensary at 4758 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Jefferson Park, but has yet to open.

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