Buffalo Grove hears proposal for combined recreational/medical pot shop

When Buffalo Grove trustees recently approved zoning for recreational marijuana businesses, the conversation focused on the benefits or evils of the drug's use.

But in presenting a plan for a combination medical/recreational cannabis dispensary to village officials Monday, PDI Medical and its parent company, Cresco Labs, raised some eyebrows by downplaying recreational use and highlighting health.

"Our goal is to normalize cannabis across the nation by reframing the conversation around wellness," said John Sullivan, executive vice president for public affairs at Cresco, a publicly traded company based in Chicago.

Village trustees voted Monday to refer the proposal to the town's planning and zoning commission for further review. Trustee David Weidenfeld, who adamantly opposed allowing recreational marijuana sales in the village, cast the lone dissenting vote.

PDI wants to create the combination medical/recreational facility at 830-840 Milwaukee Ave., replacing its existing medical-only dispensary at 1623 Barclay Blvd.

Deputy Village Manager Christopher Stilling said the application for a required special use permit meets the minimum standards for zoning, location and buffering.

PDI is willing to enter into a host agreement to address any security or operational issues, he added.

The proposed 4,900-square-foot location is wedged between a Starbucks and T-Mobile, across the street from Woodman's. PDI representative Dan Shapiro said the site will have security personnel on-site as well as video surveillance.

Weidenfeld was skeptical when Sullivan suggested the recreational aspect of the business would serve is "much smaller" than its focus on wellness through cannabis products.

"Why wouldn't you simply expand the medical marijuana facility and not bother with this?" Weidenfeld asked.

"We're saying there is a whole world of wellness out there that cannabis can be used for that should not need a doctor's prescription," Sullivan responded.

The growth in the cannabis market, he said, is about "helping people through their days, sleeping at night, getting up in the morning and feeling well."

The proposal now goes to the planning and zoning commission, which will make a recommendation to the village board. The board has the final say on the plan.

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