Rosemont's first pot shop up for vote Wednesday

Months after Rosemont voters said they were OK with recreational marijuana sales and a local ban expired, a dispensary is being planned on the Touhy Avenue corridor just north of the Allstate Arena.

EarthMed, whose Addison shop was among the first medical marijuana dispensaries in the state in 2015, plans to open what would be only its second location. But unlike the Addison store, which added recreational sales after statewide legalization last January, the Rosemont shop at 10441 W. Touhy Ave. would only sell recreational marijuana, per state regulations.

The Rosemont village board Wednesday morning will consider special use approval that would allow it as the first marijuana dispensary in town.

EarthMed Chief Operating Officer Mike Perez said his team has been eyeing a location in Rosemont for some time. It also has floated plans in other towns, including Harwood Heights.

But the Rosemont proposal came to the front burner once 59% of voters in an advisory ballot question last March were in favor of allowing recreational pot sales. A temporary six-month ban on sales expired June 30, while village officials crafted new regulations governing the dispensaries.

That included zoning rules allowing a maximum of two stores villagewide, which would only be allowed in three spots: the Touhy Avenue strip mall just blocks north of the arena; Parkway Bank Park, the prominent 200,000-square-foot entertainment complex east of the Tri-State Tollway; and The Pearl District mixed-use complex west of the tollway.

At the time those new zoning code changes were approved in June, Mayor Brad Stephens said there was preliminary interest from a group that wanted to open a dispensary at the entrance to The Pearl, but a more viable proposal was the one later revealed as EarthMed's.

"Honestly we've always had interest in Rosemont, and was a little bummed out when they opted out," Perez said. "And we just kind of weighed our options and saw what's available and what would be a good fit. And then they said they passed the referendum and we poked around to see if there was any interest over there to find a good location."

The proposed 5,200-square-foot shop is the combination of the former Racconto Italian eatery and a neighboring vacant store. EarthMed would share the building with Naf Naf Grill and Jimmy John's.

It would be only slightly smaller than the 6,000-square-foot Addison store, but offer all of the same products, from flowers to edibles, and gum to seltzer water, Perez said. There are plans to hire 25 to 40 employees, he added.

While not revealing specific security plans, Perez said EarthMed contracts with a private firm to provide on-site security guards, and the shop will be equipped with 24-hour cameras.

Proposed hours are daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The new store could be open by October or November, he said.

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