Proposed cannabis store in Wheeling clears procedural hurdle

A plan to open Wheeling's first cannabis dispensary cleared a significant bureaucratic hurdle Wednesday.

A company called Mindful Illinois wants to open a store called Hatch in the former TGI Fridays restaurant at 1500 E. Lake-Cook Road. The 5,800-square-foot, free-standing building is in the Schwind Crossings shopping center.

The village's plan commission on Wednesday approved requests to change Wheeling's zoning rules to allow a cannabis dispensary in the shopping center. The commission also said the village board should grant the business a special-use permit.

The board will consider both measures when it meets at 6:30 p.m. Monday.

Mindful Illinois operates the Mindful pot shop in Addison. The company is changing that store's name to Hatch, so both shops would have the same name, partner Gary Leff told the plan commission.

The company already is licensed to operate a second dispensary, Leff said.

At one point, a letter from a Buffalo Grove resident worried about traffic and crime was read into the record.

Leff said current available parking spots are "ample." The store wouldn't attract more customers than the restaurant did, he said.

Leff also described proposed security conditions at the shop, including a locked entrance and a 21-and-over admission policy. Additionally, Village Planner Marcy Knysz said Wheeling police have raised no crime-related concerns.

Leff said he and his partners are "very excited to become part of the Wheeling business community."

Cannabis dispensaries operate in Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Mount Prospect, Schaumburg, Mundelein and other suburbs. Some, such as the ones in Buffalo Grove and Mount Prospect, serve only customers with medical prescriptions.

In October, the Wheeling village board approved a special-use permit for a proposed cannabis growing facility at 1480 S. Wolf Road. But that proposed business still needs a state craft growing license, and none have been issued yet.

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