WEST ROGERS PARK — The vote on a proposal to open a medical marijuana dispensary next to Warren Park was delayed Thursday at a hearing in City Hall.
The city's Zoning Board of Appeals put off the vote until its August 21 hearing after the applicant's new attorney requested more time to review the case and reach out to the community.
Bob Kingsley, who has proposed to open the pot dispensary, 420 Windy City, at 6501 N. Western Ave., said he couldn't comment about why he retained a new zoning attorney, but hopes to use the extra time to gain the support of Ald. Debra Silverstein (50th), who came out against the proposal.
"To be totally honest we would love to have the alderman on board with us," he said.
A handful of supporters and opponents showed up at the hearing Thursday to voice their opinions.
Opponent Nancy Segfried said the dispensary would be "way to close to the children play area" at Warren Park.
She said she was also worried about the 24-hour armed guards required to be at all dispensaries.
"It only takes one accident to kill somebody," she said outside the City Council chambers.
But resident and supporter Bruce Mosbacher, an attorney who represents some medical marijuana clients, said he was dumbfounded by the opposition, including from Silverstein.
"It makes absolutely no sense," he said. "It's a lot safer than the bank across the street."
Mosbacher said Devon Bank, which is located next door to the proposed site at former car dealership, has "a hell of a lot more money" and would be more attractive to criminals.
"These are patients who are buying medicine," he said, adding that the corner market down the street selling alcohol poses a greater risk to children than a dispensary. "This is safer than almost any business."
Last month, Silverstein came out against the proposal to open the dispensary, encouraging residents to attend the zoning board hearing to speak out against it.
Later, she clarified her comments and said she does support medical marijuana, just not at the proposed location.
The law restricts any of the approved dispensaries from opening near schools or daycares, but does not prohibit them from opening near parks.
Silverstein didn't offer any specific examples of how children playing in Warren Park could be harmed, only saying that the law's intent should also be applied to this situation.
On Thursday, she spoke with the constituents who attended the hearing and recorded their contact info.
"We'll see how things go," she said when asked if she would change her opinion on the dispensary. She declined to answer additional questions.
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