CHICAGO — A marijuana company has proposed opening a cannabis dispensary on the same Chicago block as an addiction treatment center that serves about 500 people daily.
The dispensary proposed by NuMed would be on the second floor of a building whose entrance would be near Haymarket Center, which is located in the city’s upscale West Town neighborhood.
The sale of recreational marijuana became legal in Illinois in January. The medical marijuana dispensaries operating before then can apply for a license to open a second shop.
Haymarket Center officials are concerned having a dispensary so close would trigger patients to relapse and has rallied the support of nearby business owners to oppose the proposed dispensary. The Fulton Market Association circulated a petition that would ban dispensaries from locating within a two-block radius of the treatment center.
“We want to create a safe perimeter around the building so that we don’t have to keep fighting this on all fronts,” said Dan Lustig, a psychologist who is Haymarket’s president and CEO. Lustig says he will express his concerns at the city’s zoning board, which will meet next month.
The state of Illinois will decide what marijuana companies get licenses and where they can open stores. But Chicago dispensaries also must obtain approval from the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Alderman Walter Burnett says he opposes NuMed’s efforts, adding he doesn’t want to be involved in anything that may cause people to lose their sobriety.
“I support the people that live at Haymarket,” said Burnett, who has admitted to abusing alcohol as a teenager. “Haymarket was there first, before all this other stuff came about.”
NuMed representatives couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday.
NuMed isn’t the only company seeking to open a dispensary in West Town. Nature’s Care Co. wants to open a dispensary about three blocks from Haymarket Center.
“We are very supportive of Haymarket Center’s work,” said Howard Schacter, spokesman for Acreage Holdings, which owns Nature’s Care, told the Chicago Tribune. “We’re eager to meet with them and discuss their concerns. That said, we’re following the letter of the law in all aspects of our application and operations.”