Des Plaines council says no to downtown cannabis dispensary

Reversing course, the Des Plaines city council on Monday snuffed out a plan to open a cannabis dispensary in the downtown area.

A Chicago-based company called Dispensary 33 wanted to open a shop at 1504 Miner St. The vacant building is within the Metropolitan Square plaza and last was home to a Leona's restaurant that closed in 2017.

Cannabis dispensaries are allowed in Des Plaines but require city council approval to operate downtown. None operate anywhere in Des Plaines.

A majority of city council members supported the plan during a discussion two weeks ago. But on Monday, several of those aldermen said that after speaking with constituents, they no longer think a dispensary is appropriate in the downtown area.

City hall, several restaurants and the Des Plaines Theatre are among the existing downtown attractions.

"The No. 1 concern is the location," 4th Ward Alderman Artur Zadrozny said.

The council voted 6-1 to deny the permit request and to help the company find a different location to operate in town. Alderman Colt Moylan of the 2nd Ward was the lone dissenter.

Alderman Shamoon Ebrahimi of the 8th Ward was absent due to a COVID-19 diagnosis.

Dispensary 33 co-owner Brian Zises took the decision in stride, politely telling city officials the company seeks to operate "where we're wanted."

Zises said he was open to talking with the city's community and economic development department to find a different spot in town.

Before the council's vote, more than a dozen audience members spoke against the proposal. Some said they didn't want a dispensary anywhere in the city, while others objected only to the proposed location.

Several made lengthy religious arguments against cannabis use.

A woman who identified herself as a nurse opposed the proposed location but noted cannabis has legitimate medical uses.

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