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Marijuana dispensary looking at space in DeKalb

DeKALB – A Chicago company wants to open a medical marijuana dispensary in the Aspen Ridge Business Park at 650 Peace Road in DeKalb.

Justice Grown, the assumed name of Effingham Medicinal Farms LLC, is asking the city for a zoning change to allow for a dispensary in the multi-tenant building. The company is owned by Jon Loevy, Michael Kanovitz and Richard Silverstein, according to state records.

A public hearing on the company’s request is set for 6 p.m. Feb. 22 in the Municipal Building, 200 S. Fourth St., DeKalb.

The company also wants “other approvals as required to accommodate the proposed use, including but not limited to reasonable restrictions relating to building and premises security and surveillance,” according to a public notice published in the Daily Chronicle.

Jamil Taylor, a representative of Justice Grown, said the company operates a medical marijuana cultivation center in Edgewood and is seeking permits for dispensaries in DeKalb and other locations. The company, he said, is founded on the principles of social justice, community activism and environmental sustainability.

If approved, Taylor said, Justice Grown would do more than operate the dispensary.

“We want to be a pillar of the community,” he said.

The company has already met with city and police officials, Taylor said.

Illinois’ pilot medical marijuana program makes people with one of more than 40 conditions, such as glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder and Crohn’s disease, eligible to possess and use marijuana with a prescription.

The 2,800-square-foot space at 650 Peace Road would including a waiting area, consultation room, sales floor, vault and delivery and storage room. The unit would also include a sally port, which would allow for safe and discreet deliveries. The space would have about 40 cameras able to recognize faces and license plate numbers.

Taylor said it would be “safer than the average bank.”

DeKalb Mayor John Rey said he didn’t have any concerns about the proposed dispensary and called the proposed location “reasonable.”

Sixth Ward Alderman Dave Baker said he’s been told there’s a need for a medical marijuana dispensary in the area and would rather see one built in DeKalb than Sycamore.

Sycamore approved a special-use permit in April 2015 for a dispensary at 1985 Gateway Drive, near other medical office buildings. The permit for the Dispensary LLC was extended in 2016, but is set to expire in April, Sycamore City Manager Brian Gregory said. If the permit lapses, the company would have to reapply for it.

Gregory said the Dispensary LLC is waiting on the state for permission. He said that since 2015, other companies have shown interest in bringing a dispensary to the area.

Ultimately, it will be up to the state. Only one dispensary is allowed in each of its 60 dispensary districts, so there couldn’t be dispensaries in both Sycamore and DeKalb.

In DeKalb, the zoning change would have to be approved by the City Council. The mayor said the council could consider the matter at its Feb. 27 meeting.

Taylor encouraged residents to attend the public hearing Feb. 22. He said the company is eager to answer questions and clear up any misinformation about medical marijuana and Justice Grown’s plans.

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