Mount Prospect board allows dispensary to sell recreational pot
One year after it rejected the sale of recreational marijuana within the village, the Mount Prospect village board voted Tuesday to opt in and allow its medical dispensary to sell recreational pot at its current location.
New Age Care, 2015 E. Euclid Ave., already has a recreational license, but it could not sell it because the village in December 2019 banned sales in town.
In reversing that decision Tuesday, trustees said they were listening to the voters, who expressed their support for the sale of recreational pot in a November advisory referendum.
"Granted it's an advisory referendum, but as I look at it, don't ask the question if you don't want the answer," said Trustee Paul Hoefert, who voted to opt out last year but suggested the advisory referendum this year. "So we asked. Our citizens, our voters, responded. And in my book, this is a done deal. We had to listen. Otherwise, we shouldn't have asked."
In addition to allowing the use, the board voted in favor of a 3% cannabis retailers occupation tax. The money will be used for capital projects, law enforcement training related to drug interdiction and addiction programs, abatements to the property tax for public safety pensions, additional law enforcement and public safety staffing, and human services programs.
The only trustee to vote no was Richard Rogers.
"I just can't see how we can approve this cannabis vote when we're telling our children, 'Don't use drugs,'" he said. " ... This cannabis is a gateway drug into higher drugs."
Although he voted with the majority, Trustee William Grossi, who voted to opt out last year, voiced his objections to New Age getting preferential treatment by receiving permission to sell without having to request zoning approval.
"Everybody else in the village except for the people who live around New Age has a say," said Grossi, who lives near the dispensary. " ... Why would we even consider giving them the opportunity that we're not giving any other potential cannabis seller?"
Mayor Arlene Juracek responded that New Age already has a recreational license from the state.
"No one else has even applied for a license," she said. She said New Age would be operating by appointment only, which would mitigate traffic and parking concerns.
Under the ordinance, any new proposed location would have to get zoning approval.
Village Manager Michael Cassady told Grossi that some of the money could be used to benefit Grossi's neighborhood by funding stormwater improvements at Aspen Trails Park.
He added that New Age is an existing business, "and they have proven to us every year to operate that pharmacy in a highly professional and safe way. There have not been issues in that neighborhood."
In a statement Wednesday, Victoria Mendicino, chief of staff to the CEO of New Age owner Revolution Global, said the board's vote shows they see the value recreational sales will add to the community.
"Revolution is thrilled to have the opportunity to offer adult-use at New Age Care, while continuing to serve our medical patients and the community," she said. "We look forward to working with the village in the as we determine our next steps."