Cannabis growing facility approved in Mundelein - but state permit still needed

Entrepreneurs have received permission from Mundelein officials to open one of Illinois' first craft cannabis businesses on the village's east side.

But the proposal from a Chicago-based partnership called CAJD Illinois Ventures can't move forward until it gets a state license to grow and process cannabis for recreational use - and Illinois officials haven't granted any of those yet.

The business has been proposed for an existing building on the 900 block of East Orchard Street. It would grow, infuse and process marijuana for recreational users, according to village documents.

The village board on Monday unanimously approved a special-use permit for the proposed business.

The next step is getting a state craft growing license. The initial batch of licenses was supposed to be issued this summer but was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"They're in a holding pattern," Mundelein Community Development Director Amanda Orenchuk told the village board Monday.

Charlotte Hanna, a managing partner with CAJD Illinois Ventures, sounded excited about the opportunity in Mundelein but called the state process "really difficult to navigate."

"There isn't a lot of transparency," Hanna said in a telephone interview.

The partners who make up CAJD Illinois Ventures have cannabis-relate businesses in Massachusetts, California and Oregon, Hanna said.

Before Monday's vote, Orenchuk fielded a few questions from trustees about the proposal.

Trustee Kara Lambert asked about security in what would be a loading area. Orenchuk said a police department review of security measures would be needed for the business to open.

Trustee Robin Meier asked if the business would produce any sales tax for the village. Trustee Kerston Russell responded by explaining manufacturers and wholesalers aren't assessed sales tax on their products, only retailers.

But officials didn't know if the rules will be different for cannabis growers.

The proposed business wouldn't be the first cannabis operation in Mundelein. A dispensary called Rise operates at 1325 Armour Blvd.

The two businesses wouldn't compete for customers. If approved, the growing facility would produce its own strain of marijuana and sell that product to dispensaries, not directly to consumers.

In addition to Mundelein, craft growing businesses have been proposed in Schaumburg, Wheeling and other communities.

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