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Decision on Medical Marijuana Dispensary Near Superdawg Expected Friday

 Union Group of Illinois wants to open a dispensary in a vacant storefront at 6428-30 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Union Group of Illinois wants to open a dispensary in a vacant storefront at 6428-30 N. Milwaukee Ave.
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Union Group of Illinois

NORWOOD PARK — City officials are set to decide Friday afternoon whether a medical marijuana dispensary should be allowed to open near Superdawg.

Ald. Anthony Napolitano (41st) said he will decide whether to support the proposal from Union Group of Illinois to open a dispensary at 6428-30 N. Milwaukee Ave. based on a vote of residents taking place at the 41st Ward office, 7442 N. Harlem Ave., that will end Thursday.

Results of that vote won't be released until Friday, said Chris Vittorio, Napolitano's chief of staff.

A public hearing before the city's Zoning Board of Appeals is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. Friday at City Hall, in Room 200 at City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle St.

"I am encouraging all residents to join me at City Hall and voice their opinion," Napolitano said in an email to residents. "This is a monumental issue in our ward and community involvement is crucial."

While the zoning board frequently follows the recommendation of aldermen when deciding whether to approve or reject projects in their ward, it does not always do so. Napolitano has said he would not want his three children to grow up near a dispensary.

A majority of those who attended several community meetings during the last several months objected to the plan to transform the vacant storefront near Devon and Nagle avenues into a dispensary, dismissing those who praised the proposed dispensary as a way for the seriously ill to get access to life-changing medicine.

Many opponents said the dispensary will snarl traffic, attract criminals to the area and lower the value of their homes.

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.

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

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