Recreational Marijuana Dispensary Proposed

Recreational Marijuana Dispensary Proposed

Northbrook’s Trustees expressed general approval for a preliminary application to establish the Village’s first-ever recreational marijuana dispensary. The proposal from Grassroots Cannabis follows on the heels of a recent discussion by Trustees that favored allowing a limited number of cannabis businesses made possible by Illinois’ new recreational marijuana legislation.

Images presented to the Board of Trustees depict examples of Grassroots Cannabis dispensary facilities.

If approved, the new Grassroots business will be located at the northeast corner of Dundee Road and Skokie Boulevard, on two lots occupied by a closed gas station and the former Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) building. Although specific plans have not yet been submitted, the proposal envisions significant renovations of the 11,000 square foot RIC structure for use as the cannabis sales space and other ancillary functions, as well as demolition of the gas station to make way for an improved parking lot and landscaping.
According to materials submitted to the Village, Grassroots was founded in Highland Park and has grown into one of the country’s largest legal cannabis companies. Grassroots’ affiliated enterprises include dispensaries and cultivation and processing facilities in 11 states. It operates Greenhouse in Deerfield, one of 55 existing medical dispensaries in Illinois. The Illinois recreational cannabis law allows medical dispensary operators to open recreational retail stores that are “secondary” to their medical outlets, streamlining the licensing process.

The Trustees’ comments reflected a positive reaction to the project, although some questions were raised. Many Trustees were pleased that a gateway to the Village would have an updated, attractive structure taking the place of unkempt vacant buildings.

Trustee Kathryn Ciesla commented, “This seems to me to be an outstanding location for this use. I was really impressed with the application materials that they submitted.”

Reservations about traffic patterns were noted by President Sandy Frum and Trustee Johannah Hebl, who remarked on the “treacherous” traffic at that busy intersection. Trustee Jason Han stated his concern that patrons might be using marijuana on the premises and then accessing the nearby expressway. Trustee Heather Ross said in response that it was not unlike having businesses that serve alcohol in the same area.

Tom Poupard, Development and Planning Services Director, noted that it is unclear whether the company intended to have onsite cannabis consumption as part of its business. He affirmed that consumption would be something that the Village has the power to regulate.

The application was referred to the Plan Commission for future review.