Wheeling's first recreational pot dispensary could open in early 2021

A plan to open Wheeling's first cannabis dispensary got the thumbs-up from the village board Monday night.

A company called Mindful Illinois wants to open a store in the former TGI Fridays restaurant at 1500 E. Lake-Cook Road. The store would cater to recreational users, not people with medical prescriptions for the drug.

The 5,800-square-foot, free-standing building is in the Schwind Crossings shopping center. Mindful Illinois intends to renovate the interior and change the facade of the building before opening in early 2021.

"We plan to actually do ... a gut renovation," partner Gary Leff told the board Monday via computer, as the meeting was held remotely because of the COVID-19 crisis.

Customers will find an "upscale, premium environment," Leff added.

After asking Leff a few questions, trustees unanimously approved requests to change Wheeling's zoning rules to allow cannabis dispensaries in the shopping center's business district. The board also granted the business a special-use permit.

Any architectural or cosmetic changes will need additional village approval down the road.

Mindful Illinois operates the Mindful pot shop in Addison. Because of an identically named but distinct operation in Colorado, the company will name both stores Hatch.

The company already is licensed to operate a second dispensary.

The village's economic development department helped bring Mindful Illinois to the site, documents indicate. Wheeling will collect a 3% tax on any sales at the store.

Cannabis dispensaries operate in Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Mount Prospect, Schaumburg, Mundelein and other suburbs. Some, such as the ones in Buffalo Grove and Mount Prospect, serve only customers with medical prescriptions.

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