Lake Zurich hears plan for second marijuana dispensary

Just two weeks after Lake Zurich leaders voted to allow the village's first marijuana dispensary, a new group pitched a plan to build the second.

Under the new plan, Dispensary 2.0 would be established at 927 S. Rand Road in Lake Zurich, the same strip mall that has an Aldi, a Binny's and a state driver's license facility. The dispensary would share the outbuilding with Companion Animal Hospital Lake Zurich.

The new plan was before the village board Monday night for a courtesy review. No votes were cast.

On Nov. 1 village board members voted 4-1 to allow a dispensary called Bloc Cannabis at the old TGIF Fridays at 676 S. Rand Road. which is about a half-mile from where the second would open. While there wasn't vocal community opposition at that meeting, five members of the community spoke out against the proposal Monday.

Resident Mary Keller said she was concerned the new marijuana store would cause traffic and parking problems and damage the village's character.

"I don't want to live in a community where there is a weed store on every corner," Keller said.

While most trustees didn't commit to vote one way or the other, Marc Spacone said he would vote against and Janice Gannon said she would vote in favor.

Spacone, a principal at Larson Middle School in Elgin, was the lone "no" vote earlier this month and said again Monday that he was concerned that the dispensary would lead to more children using marijuana.

"I now experience kids that are taking their parents legally purchased marijuana and cannabis items and bringing them into schools and using them and trading them and selling them," Spacone said to a smattering of applause from residents against the plan. "Thank you for your interest here, but I hope that you decide to go somewhere else."

The group proposing Dispensary 2.0, Two Pointo LLC, is led by owner David Berger, who grew up in Northbrook and said he's opened marijuana dispensaries in six states. Berger said his store would offer a more diverse range of cannabis products than Bloc Dispensary's and twice compared the difference between the two stores like the difference between the offerings from Budweiser and a craft brewery.

John Sfire of the Fidelity Group, whose family would be the dispensary's landlord, sought to ease concerns that the village would soon be teeming with weed stores. Sfire said his family owns 70% of commercial space in Lake Zurich and would not allow another of its tenants to be a marijuana dispensary.

Sfire also revealed that during the pandemic he spent $2 million in rent deferrals to keep his tenants from going out of business.

"They made it in this town because I reached in my pocket," Sfire said. "Not that you need to think about it, but we provide about 72% of the sales tax revenue for the village, which is a lot of money."

The plan calls for the dispensary to employ a security company and have an armed guard on the premises.

Berger said the team expects to make about $10 million in annual sales, which would net the village about $300,000 in sales tax. If Berger and his team decide to pursue their proposal, they would next present it to the village's planning and zoning commission. The village board would have the final say.

Two Pointo LLC on Monday presented its plan to build a recreational marijuana dispensary at 927 S. Rand Road in Lake Zurich. courtesy of village of Lake Zurich
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