Antioch's first marijuana dispensary expected to open within 45 days

Antioch's first recreational cannabis dispensary is expected to open a temporary facility in the next 30 to 45 days.

Consume Cannabis Company is pursuing a 600-square-foot temporary location at 471 Main St. (Route 83) between North Avenue and the Wisconsin state line. The opening is pending a final permit from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

The temporary spot will operate while a permanent 9,300-square-foot facility is built on an adjacent property at 453 Main St.

Village officials in 2019 voted to allow a dispensary in response to state legislation legalizing the production, sale and use of recreational marijuana. The village also enacted a 3% local sales tax on marijuana sales.

The state law went into effect Jan. 1, 2020 but applications for dispensaries were slowed down by issues with the licensing process and then COVID.

A second request for a dispensary license at 417 E. Route 173, between Menards and Walmart in the Antioch Crossing retail area, led the village board to increase the number of licenses to two by a 4-2 vote.

Dissenters at the time said the spirit of the original approval was to be a one-dispensary town. But free enterprise prevailed.

"A little competition brings out the best in everybody," Trustee Brent Bluthardt said at the time. "I think there's enough business to justify two of these. They would be in totally different areas of town."

Trustee Mary Pedersen said the village should capitalize on traffic on its main corridors.

"Antioch has a lot of bars. We have a lot of entertainment. This is one more thing," she said.

Mayor Scott Gartner on Thursday said there was a sense of urgency to address the issue as dispensaries also are allowed in unincorporated areas and the village didn't want to lose potential revenue to those locations.

Consume Cannabis operates six dispensaries in Michigan and five in Illinois - St. Charles, Oakbrook Terrace, Carbondale, Chicago and Marion. It also has one location each in Ohio and Arizona, according to its website.

There has been no activity at the Route 173 location.

The village is planning a marijuana dispensary FAQ webpage.

"We'll educate our residents on what's been approved and what is coming into town," said Jim Moran, village communication manager.

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