Could suburbs' first cannabis lounge open in Mundelein?

  • An architect's design for the proposed cannabis lounge at Rise in Mundelein.

    An architect's design for the proposed cannabis lounge at Rise in Mundelein. Courtesy of Village of Mundelein

  • Mundelein's Rise could become the first cannabis dispensary in suburban Chicago to offer a lounge for customers to take the drug.

    Mundelein's Rise could become the first cannabis dispensary in suburban Chicago to offer a lounge for customers to take the drug. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer, 2020

 
 
Updated 9/10/2021 3:37 PM

The suburbs' first cannabis lounge could open in Mundelein.

The village board on Monday will discuss -- and could approve -- a request from the Rise cannabis dispensary, 1325 Armour Blvd., to open an appointment-only area where customers can consume cannabis after making purchases.

 

The lounge would be in an adjacent building at 1570 Baskin Road that Rise's parent company, Green Thumb Industries of Chicago, purchased earlier this year. A hallway would connect it to the original building.

The lounge would be among the first in the state. Others operate in DeKalb and downstate. More have been proposed.

The state law that legalized selling cannabis for recreational purposes beginning in January 2020 also allowed towns to authorize consumption of the drug inside dispensaries and tobacco stores. So far, none in the Chicago area have done so.

"Mundelein's kind of been ... at the forefront of those discussions," Village Administrator Eric Guenther said. "It's a matter of reading the tea leaves."

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Although possession of limited amounts of cannabis has been legal in Illinois since last year, it's still illegal to smoke pot in public.

Under Mundelein's proposal, only cannabis flower, beverages and concentrates purchased at Rise could be smoked or consumed in the lounge. Edibles would be forbidden because they are easier to unintentionally overconsume, documents indicate.

A security guard would be positioned to oversee entry and lounge activity. No one under 21 is allowed inside the dispensary, and customers would be asked to provide ID a second time upon entry to the lounge, too, documents state.

The lounge would be equipped with tables, chairs and booths for customers.

Customers would be limited to two hours inside the lounge to prevent lingering and overconsumption.

Lounge employees would be trained to prevent overconsumption by patrons.

If a customer appears headed toward overconsumption, employees would step in, stop usage and encourage hydration, according to documents. And for customers intending to drive, employees would cut off service at least 30 minutes before their reservations are scheduled to end.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Alcohol would not be permitted.

Mayor Steve Lentz initially opposed allowing recreational cannabis sales in Mundelein, but he supports the lounge proposal. The proposed safeguards make the plan "very reasonable," he said.

Guenther expects public opposition and support for the proposal. But nationally and locally, people are becoming more accepting of marijuana use, he said.

"There are those who will see this as a progressive and innovative move forward," Guenther said.

For the lounge to open, the village board will need to give Rise permission for on-site consumption.

Monday's board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. at village hall, 300 Plaza Circle. It will be livestreamed at mundeleinvillageil.iqm2.com/citizens/default.aspx.

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