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Oak Park to get recreational cannabis on Lake Street

Law allows Seven Point to sell new class of products in 2020

July 16th, 2019 1:24 PM

Dispensary in transition: Seven Point Medical Cannabis Dispensary in downtown Oak Park. | TIMOTHY INKLEBARGER/Staff

By Timothy Inklebarger

Staff Reporter

The village of Oak Park is set to get its first recreational cannabis dispensary at the beginning of 2020, when the state's law legalizing the drug goes into effect.

The new law, signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker on June 25, allows all medical cannabis dispensaries to transition into recreational sales on Jan. 1, 2020.

Los Angeles-based medical cannabis company Medmen purchased Seven Point dispensary, 1132 Lake St., from former owner Brad Zerman in October. Medmen also is in the process of purchasing Oak Park-based Pharmacann LLC, one of the largest medical cannabis companies in the country, for $682 million. 

Allison McLarty, vice president of corporate communications for Medmen, said in an email that the company plans to transition Seven Point to recreational sales at the beginning of the year.

Asked if they would be ready to go on day one, McLarty said the company is not discussing opening plans yet.

It is currently the company's only dispensary in Illinois, but if the Pharmacann deal goes through, Medmen would pick up dispensaries the company owns in Arlington Heights, Evanston, North Aurora and Ottawa, along with production facilities in Dwight and Hillcrest.

McLarty said Medmen plans to have 10 stores total in Illinois. 

Medmen said in a June 25 press release that Pharmacann "currently serves nearly 80 percent of the Chicagoland market.

"The proposed transaction is currently under regulatory review and the company expects it to close by the end of calendar year 2019," Medmen noted.

The company said its stores are designed to "create an elevated, but accessible, consumer experience."

"Every Medmen store is created to serve the needs of a wide range of shoppers, from the 'canna-curious' to the experts," the company noted. "This innovative store design helps break the stigma associated with cannabis."

They say the company will create hundreds of jobs across the state, pending approval of the Pharmacann deal.

Local concern over whether the village can impose its own tax on the drug was put to rest with the signing of the bill, which allows for municipalities to tax recreational cannabis.

The Oak Park Board of Trustees was presented with a plan to impose its own tax earlier this year on both recreational and medicinal cannabis. The concern was that a bill out of Springfield might prevent implementing local tax and sending all tax revenue to the state.

Trustees did not take action on the proposal yet because of concern that the tax would be implemented on medicinal cannabis users.

Village Manager Cara Pavlicek confirmed in a telephone interview that Oak Park will be allowed to impose its own 3 percent tax on recreational cannabis sales.

Village staff is conducting an internal review right now and will return to the board of trustees with a tax plan before the beginning of next year, she said.

"Most municipalities feel there is local impact to services," Pavlicek said, adding in an email that the village's Plan Commission will take up the issue of zoning for the new retail classification. 

"Consistent with current local zoning regulations on medical marijuana establishments, staff is recommending that the new recreational outlets be designated as a permitted use in all business and commercial zoning districts," Pavlicek wrote.

The Plan Commission will submit its recommendation to the Oak Park Board of Trustees for consideration.

"Currently, only licensed medical marijuana dispensing outlets will be allowed to legally sell recreational marijuana in Illinois," Pavlicek said. "Future expansion is anticipated, but the number of outlets and their locations will be controlled by the state."

tim@oakpark.com