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Medical Marijuana Dispensary, Superdawg Could Be Ideal Neighbors

By Chuck Sudo in News on Feb 19, 2015 10:00PM

When it comes to homes and businesses, the phrase “location, location, location” is always used to highlight desirable areas. For one proposed medical marijuana dispensary, that could result in a gold mine of business for it and an iconic neighbor, yet still has some hurdles to leap over before becoming a reality.

Union Group of Illinois holds a state license to open a medical marijuana dispensary in Jefferson Township, which incorporates a sizable part of the city’s far Northwest Side. Union Group wants to open a medical marijuana dispensary at 6248 N. Milwaukee Ave., which would put the dispensary within spitting distance of Superdawg—insert your pothead munchies joke here. The hot dog stand’s co-owner Scott Berman said he would welcome “anything that brings customers to the area.”

But Ald. Mary O’Connor (41st) is ready to throw shade at Union Group if and when they decide to file for a special use permit at that location.

"I voted against this measure in the City Council and remain opposed to the establishment of a medical marijuana dispensary in the 41st Ward," said O'Connor, who is up for re-election Tuesday. "If and when an application for a special-use permit is applied for, I will absolutely hold a public community meeting in order to inform residents of the proposal and allow residents an opportunity to voice their concerns."

One thing in O’Connor’s favor is the Chicago Zoning Board of Appeals tends to side with an alderman’s wishes regarding projects in his or her ward, an indication that some things regarding Chicago politics change at a snail's pace, if at all. But it would be interesting to see what O’Connor does if she holds public meetings and a majority of residents voice their support for the dispensary. The state’s medical cannabis pilot program and Chicago’s complementary ordinance placed strict limits on where dispensaries and cultivation centers can be located. But zoning regulations approved last summer by the City Council Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards Commission make it plausible for medical marijuana dispensaries opening in tony neighborhoods and nightlife districts.

Whether O’Connor opposes having a medical marijuana dispensary in her ward on safety grounds or if she believes it would be a glorified head shop and Norwood Park would be overrun with potheads, only she knows. Scott Berman has a more progressive take on the matter.

"This will help people," Berman said. "I see it no differently than a doctor's office or dentist's office opening there."

[DNAInfo Chicago]