Palatine planning board backs proposal for town's first recreational marijuana shop

Palatine officials moved closer this week to approving the village's first recreational marijuana shop.

On Tuesday, the town's plan commission recommended that the village council allow Botavi Wellness LLC and partner Justice Cannabis to open the proposed Bloc Dispensary at 323 E. Lake-Cook Road, a vacant site near Rand Road.

The next step for the proposal is a May 2 meeting before the council's community and economic development committee.

Mitch Zaveduk, vice president of real estate for Justice Cannabis, likened the proposed facility Tuesday to an upscale retail business.

"We would like to have the feeling of an Apple store or a high-end jewelry store," he said.

Plans also call for two armed security guards on duty, one stationed at the front and the other watching cameras in the rear, strictly enforcing the prohibition against on-site consumption.

Robert Kolososki, a member of the plan commission, described himself as "not a big fan of cannabis" but said the proposed site seems appropriate for the business.

"I'm not sure that we need it in Palatine," he said.

Commissioner Stephen Fedota noted that the proposal meets village zoning regulations, including restrictions on proximity to schools and parks, and places the pot shop in a business district.

"Our primary duty is to look at land usage, not whether or not this is admirable, whether it's actionable, whether it's the right thing," he said.

The dispensary could haul in between $500,000 and $1 million in gross sales per month, officials said, with the village collecting 3% sales tax.

Founded in 2014 by two civil rights attorneys, Justice Cannabis operates 11 dispensaries in Pennsylvania, Missouri and Utah and has one in the works in Benton Harbor, Michigan. It has plans for 10 dispensaries in Illinois.

The company also operates a cultivation facility near downstate Effingham.

"We are excited to move to Palatine," Zaveduk said. " And part of what we're going to bring to Palatine is some good job creation in the town."

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