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Decision on Medical Marijuana Dispensary Near Superdawg Postponed

By  Heather Cherone and Ted Cox | August 21, 2015 3:09pm | Updated on August 24, 2015 8:23am

 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 Friday postponed a decision on whether a medical marijuana dispensary wil be allowed to open near Superdawg until Christmas.

Ald. Anthony Napolitano (41st) asked the city's Zoning Board of Appeals to delay considering the proposal from Union Group of Illinois to open a dispensary at 6428-30 N. Milwaukee Ave. Napolitano's office did not immediately return requests about why he recommended the delay.

Lawyers for the firm objected to the delay, the second time the board has put off a vote on the matter at Napolitano's request. The matter is now scheduled to be heard Dec. 18, officials said.

In May, the board agreed to put off a vote after Napolitano said Norwood Park residents had not had enough time to evaluate the proposal. Since then, several community meetings have been held, with a majority of attendees objecting to the plan.

Napolitano has said he would decide whether to to support the proposal based on a vote of residents that took place at the ward office through Thursday.

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.

Opponents of the plan to transform the vacant storefront near Devon and Nagle avenues into a dispensary said it would snarl traffic, attract criminals to the area and lower the value of their homes. Many dismissed those who praised the proposed dispensary as a way for the seriously ill to get access to life-changing medicine.

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

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.