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Chicago and Cook County are a large, highly competitive market for medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation centers.

This page contains all my blog articles covering the City of Chicago and Cook County.

Chicago Grants Two More Special Use Permits: Organic Leaf, Euflora

Chicago City Council granted special use permits to two more dispensary applicants: Organic Leaf and Euflora. Four other special use requests were continued to a later date. There are now 11 dispensary applicants and one cultivation center applicant that have been approved for special use permits in Chicago.

Request Approved

  1. Organic Leaf Medical Dispensaries (Scott Bergin, Edipure): 744 N. Damen Ave.
  2. Euflora Health Center (Jamie Perino): 4760½ N. Milwaukee Ave

Request Continued

  1. MedMar:  2843 N. Halsted.
  2. Good Earth Solutions (Jody Bhambra): 1954-68 W. Peterson Ave.
  3. Identity not reported: 3118 N. Harlem Ave.
  4. Identity not reported: 3433 N. Pulaski Rd.

Request Withdrawn

  1. Identity not reported: 211 E Grand

For more specifics see:

Euflora Health Center- Approved

DNAinfo Chicago says:

Perino told the board that the feedback she’d received from nearby businesses had been “neutral or actually very positive” and that community response had been “surprisingly supportive.”

If approved, Matt Boumaroun, the owner of the 25 Degrees restaurant on the Near North Side, will operate the dispensary, Perino said.

Kenneth Boudreau, who has spent almost 30 years in Chicago law enforcement, will be in charge of security. The dispensary will use off-duty Chicago Police officers as guards, Perino said.

Organic Leaf- Approved

DNAinfo Chicago says:

Scott Bergin, who would relocate to Chicago to run the dispensary, is also an owner of EdiPure, a business specializing in edible marijuana products and with both dispensaries and cultivation centers in Colorado, Washington state, California and Nevada. He said his products tend toward cannabidol, or CBD, rather than tetrahydrocannabiol, or THC, and don’t make patients high, although they still provide the relief patients seek.

Because of that, Bergin said, he expected the dispensary to draw clients from afar and not just locally. He estimated the business would deal with 25 to 50 patients a day and perhaps grow to as many as 200 a day.

THC is OK!

As an aside, Illinois law and regulations do not impose restrictions on licensees’ production or sale of medicines containing THC. In fact, many patients may suffer from nervous system conditions and therefore benefit more from higher ratios of THC to CBD.

See Dr. Sanjay Gupta explain the “entourage effect” in this video.

MedMar- Continued

MedMar faces local resistance. According to Chicago Sun-Times:

The deferral for a necessary special use permit granted by a city zoning board came the same day Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) said he wouldn’t support the proposed dispensary at 2843 N. Halsted.

“I have always maintained that it is important to take community concerns into consideration when making development decisions,” Tunney said. “In this case, the immediate neighbors have spoken loudly that they believe this highly residential area of Lakeview is not the right location for a medical marijuana dispensary.”

Dozens of neighbors have rallied and about 800 people have signed an online petition opposing the dispensary, which would be opened by a company called MedMar.

Good Earth Solutions- Continued

Good Earth Solutions faces local resistance. According to DNAinfo Chicago:

But some residents who live in the neighborhood felt uneasy that any business would need so much protection.

“At the end of the day, I don’t understand why this neighborhood would be open to the notion that … this is going to help build the community in the way we want to build the community,” said Laolu Fayanju, a resident and medical doctor.

Total Approved = 11 dispensaries, 1 cultivation center

Chicago’s City Council has now granted special use permits to 11 dispensary applicants and 1 cultivation center applicant.

For more background information, see these earlier articles I wrote:

Political fundraiser’s company applied, says BGA

David Rosen, a Hillary Clinton fundraiser, owns a company that is part of a cultivation center application; Rolling Meadows approves De Palma Investments’ Chicago Meds 2 dispensary; a local family physician urges residents of Highland Park to express their views; Palatine set to hear Nature’s Care dispensary special use request; and Lakeview residents try to block MedMar’s dispensary plan.

“Businessman that supports Democrats” is part of cultivation application

Better Government Association reveals that a company owned by David Rosen has submitted at least one cultivation center application:

Documents from Winnebago County show a Rosen company, Waveseer, is seeking permission from state government to obtain a medical marijuana cultivation license, so it can grow pot plants near Rockford.

Rosen was campaign finance director for Hillary Clinton’s successful New York senatorial campaign in 2000 and Pat Quinn’s first election for Illinois governor in 2010.

Rosen didn’t want to talk publicly to the BGA about his medical marijuana plans and didn’t want to say what his role might be if Hillary Clinton runs for president in 2016.

“I’m just a lay leader,” Rosen said. “I’m a businessman that supports Democrats.

See Better Government Association’s article (via Chicago Sun-Times): Ex-top Hillary Clinton fundraiser wants in on Illinois pot biz

Rolling Meadows grants special use permit to De Palma Investments dispensary

See Journal & Topics of Des Plaines article: Rolling Meadows Approves Medical Marijuana Facility, No Impact Fee

Rolling Meadows City Council members Tuesday (Dec. 9) unanimously approved an application for a special use permit to open a medical marijuana dispensing facility at 975 Rohlwing Rd.

Following the vote Paul Sorkin, representing DePalma Investments which owns the applicant, Chicago Meds 2, told the Journal & Topics they hope to have the dispensary up and running in early 2015 after applying for their state license at the end of this year.

Highland Park City Council Meeting — Monday Dec. 15

Dr. Leslie Mendoza Temple, a family physician in Highland Park, has written a letter in her local newspaper urging local residents to pressure their City Council. The City Council intends to delay handling zoning issues for dispensaries until 2015, and Dr. Mendoza Temple says failure to act this year spells certain defeat for the local dispensary.

…The Council had planned to discuss the change December 1, but officials deferred discussion until 2015. Illinois is currently reviewing applications and is scheduled to issue licenses this month. If the Council does not begin its discussion of the zoning recommendation in December, the State is likely to reject a Highland Park dispensary. This would force many of my patients who live in this area to travel further to get their medicine, and they have enough problems to deal with as it is.

If you support helping people in our community suffering from debilitating diseases, please contact Mayor Rotering and City Council members and ask them to consider the zoning amendment at its December 15 meeting.

Palatine Village Board of Trustees Meeting — Monday Dec. 15

The special use permit request of dispensary applicant Nature’s Care is on the agenda for Monday night’s meeting of the Board of Trustees in Palatine.

See Journal & Topics of Des Plaines article: Marijuana Shops Heads to Palatine Council

Councilmen Nov. 3 sent a request by petitioner Mitch Meyers of Nature’s Care LLC, who is looking to operate at 310 W. Colfax St., back to the zoning board of appeals for a rehearing.

It was sent back for rehearing because during the first plan heard by the zoning board in October, it was determined Commissioner Ted McGinn’s law firm had represented a previous petitioner looking to operate in town. To make sure the process was conducted appropriately, it was sent back.

The first vote by the zoning board in October was 5-3 in favor of the operation. The zoning board on Nov. 25 voted 4-1 in favor, a vote that didn’t include McGinn.


Councilmen Sept. 15 denied a proposal by Northwest Medical Distribution to operate at 400 S. Vermont St. west of S. Hicks Road and south of Northwest Highway. Since then, Northwest Medical has asked the council to reconsider their decision. The council will discuss that matter Jan. 5, 2015.

Lakeview residents petition to block Medmar dispensary

See CBS Chicago: Lakeview Residents Try to Block Proposed Marijuana Dispensary

The site is in the 2800 block of North Halsted in the Lakeview neighborhood. It could get approved in just a few days.

The listed address for MedMar Inc., the company that wants the dispensary,  is in an Edgewater high rise… MedMar officials are asking for a special-use permit for the site, something the residential group is ready to fight at the hearing next week.

DFPR regulations in Second Notice for JCAR meeting; Agriculture Department publishes rules; 98th General Assembly concludes veto session; Governor Quinn pardons a cannabis conviction.

DFPR regs on 2nd Notice– JCAR’s Dec. 16 agenda

A draft of regulations published by Department of Financial and Professional Regulation are on the agenda of JCAR’s Dec. 16 meeting.

The provisions which have yet to be approved are those which establish the scoring criteria for distinguishing the strengths of competing applicants.

Ag. Dept. publishes replacement for emergency rules 

The Department of Agriculture published in the December 5 issue of the Illinois Register a permanent set of rules to replace an earlier set of emergency rules covering the scoring criteria for cultivation centers.

As summarized in the December 5 issue of the Flinn Report:

The DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE proposed amendments to Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program (8 IAC 1000; 38 Ill Reg 22275) that make changes to the process of applying for a cannabis cultivation center license from DOA. A companion emergency rule, effective 8/8/14 for a maximum of 150 days, appeared in the Illinois Register at 38 Ill Reg 17772. The proposed amendments specify how many points of a cultivation center permit applicant’s score will be determined by each section of an application…

…The rulemaking also allows applicants who are awaiting local zoning decisions to submit verification of zoning approval no later than 60 days after submitting the remainder of their applications to DOA. Applicants for cultivation center permits and local zoning authorities are affected by this rulemaking.

Farewell to IL’s 98th Generally Assembly

Illinois’ 98th Generally Assembly, which governed in 2013 and 2014, is now adjourned for most intents and purposes. The last day of veto session for the General Assembly was December 4th.

Technically, one final day of session does remain. The session calendar for 2015 has one day of session for the 98th on the day immediately preceding inauguration of the 99th. But it’s unlikely the 98th will perform any action related to cannabis (or much else) that day.

For background about what the 98th General Assembly accomplished during the veto session and what will be inherited by the 99th General Assembly, see JournalStandard.com’s article: Illinois lawmakers sidestep several issues during veto session

The 98th Generally Assembly goes down in history as the one who enacted the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program.

Governor Quinn pardons cannabis conviction

Not only the legislative but also the executive branch of Illinois government will be replaced in 2015. Present Governor Pat Quinn recently granted executive pardon to 126 petitioners, and among them was James Loftus of Geneso, who “was convicted in 1992 and served 30 months of probation,” according to QConline.com.

According to QConline’s article, Quinn pardons Genoso man arrested for marijuana:

[Mr. Loftus]  said he went to a hearing in Chicago for the pardon about six years ago and had given up on it.

…The 311 clemency petitions acted upon recently by Gov. Quinn are part of dockets dating back to 2005. Each person granted clemency has recently undergone a criminal background check through the Illinois State Police’s Law Enforcement Agencies Data System.

A granted clemency request for a pardon with expungement allows the petitioner to seek expungement of their conviction through the court system.

Since taking office, Gov. Quinn has acted on 3,358 clemency petitions, granted 1,239 and denied 2,119.

More cases related to cannabis are pending, and Governor Quinn has time to grant more pardons.

Green Thumb Industries and another dispensary met resistance over security in Chicago’s 27th Ward; Illinois Grown Medicine explained its cultivation center plan in Colona; and jobs hiring may finally begin soon.

Mixed views in Chicago’s 27th Ward

Gazette Chicago published an article demonstrating how difficult it is to be a dispensary. (See Gazette Chicago article: Burnett supports marijuana dispensaries; community groups express opposition)

In Chicago’s 27th Ward, Alderman Walter Burnett favors dispensaries:

“I feel we have sick people in our ward and they should have access to medicine that’s going to help them,” Burnett said. Noting medical marijuana helps people with cancer, Crohn’s disease, HIV, and lupus, he added, “People living in our ward should have access—just like everywhere else.

Gazette Chicago says Burnett is nonetheless concerned about dispensaries’ security. The article says Burnett supports Edward Burke’s proposed zoning ordinance amendment which would require cultivation centers and dispensaries to have a private security contractor’s manned presence at facilities 24-7. (The ordinance is opposed by mayoral candidate Bob Fioretti as an abuse of the City’s Home Rule Authority).

Burnett introduced 2 dispensaries to local community groups

According to Gazette Chicago:

Burnett asked representatives of the two businesses applying to the City’s zoning board of appeals for permits for marijuana dispensaries at 955 W. Lake St. and 1105 W. Fulton St. to present to local community groups. Those who have heard their pitches remained unconvinced.

security dispensary marijuana

What a dispensary looks like (Sonya Yruel/Drug Policy Alliance)

Among the criticisms:

Bob Aiken, a member of the 27th Ward economic development committee representing the Neighbors of the West Loop, noted a review of the proposed Lake Street dispensary left unanswered questions—mainly about security and future planning.

While dispensaries might initially expect 15 patrons per day, in a few years that number could escalate to 70 or 80 patrons per day, and Aiken asked how officials will manage that increase along with loitering and additional business hours. His group is compiling questions and feedback for a future meeting.

The dispensary applicant on Lake St. is GTI.

The West Central Association met with Ben Kovler of Green Thumb Industries, LLC, who proposes the Lake Street dispensary at the current site of Dr. Graphx, a large format print shop. While noting his group did not support the dispensary due to organizational concerns and a location right off the elevated stop, Armando Chacon, association president, added, “It’s going to be the law of the land. Formulating a position on this is challenging.

IGM woos Colona

Illinois Grown Medicine held a meeting in Colona for the purpose of educating the community about its plan. The company is one of six who seek the cultivation center license in Illinois State Police District 7.

According to Quad-Cities Online (Medical marijuana farm could bring $367,000 to Colona):

Only one firm will receive a license in State Police District 7 that includes Henry, Rock Island, Knox and Mercer counties. IGM submitted its application in September and Paul Rosenfeld of the firm on Tuesday night said the district also has two applicants from Rock Island, two from Galesburg and one from unincorporated Knox County.

The Quad-Cities Online article doesn’t explain who performed these estimations or how they arrived at them, but:

It’s estimated Illinois will have 60,000 medical marijuana patients in 2017 and the state’s 21 cultivation centers would have gross sales of $250 million. Mr. Rosenfeld said Illinois’ program is a four-year pilot project that won’t be renewed if done wrong.


IGM’s proposed Colona center projects $14.7 million in annual revenue in 2017. Under an agreement with city officials, Colona’s share would be $367,000 annually, composed of 1.5 percent of gross sales as well as 1 percent for city infrastructure fees.

As for the design of Illinois Grown Medicine’s proposed cultivation center:

Mr. Rosenfeld said the proposed $25 million Colona facility would be 100,000 square feet with a possible greenhouse expansion of similar size in the future. The industry norm is two to three harvests per year, he said, but IGM’s expert recommend smaller, bushier plants that could yield five harvests per year.

IGM says it has assistance from companies in Canada and California:

Mr. Rosenfeld said all of IGM’s investors are from Illinois, but the firm is using cultivation experts from Sonoma, Calif., and has a strategic partnership with CCC, a Canadian firm, because Canada has a federal medical cannabis program.

Jobs Creation is next for Pilot Program

Licenses are about to be awarded, which means Illinois can finally start realizing the economic benefits of legalizing the market. Builders and other contractors will start right away preparing cultivation centers and dispensaries for operation. Meanwhile the management teams of licensees can finally start reviewing the credentials of Illinois’ strong workforce.


Vallerius Group understands the employment needs of cultivation centers and dispensaries. Our service is tailored for the rare and unique circumstances of the Pilot Program.

Licensees: Call Bradley Vallerius to learn how we can help you. 480-382-5537

Prospective employees: Please see our information and send us your resume.

Des Plains enacts $15,000 annual impact fee for dispensaries

Chicago’s ZBA will hear a special use request for a dispensary in Andersonville; Des Plaines enacts an ordinance applying a $15,000 annual impact fee on dispensaries.

Andersonville dispensary application, 5000 N Clark

The Cannabis Group LLC seeks a special use permit from Chicago’s Zoning Board of Appeals to operate a dispensary at 5001-03 N, Clark St, according to DNAinfo Chicago.

See DNAinfo Chicago‘s article: Group Seeks to Open Medical Marijuana Clinic at Former Pie Hole Pizza Spot 

The Cannabis Group’s application is on the board’s agenda for its January 16 meeting.

…Poole encouraged members of the community to voice their opinions through the Zoning Board of Appeals pending any specific neighborhood meetings.

Chicago’s Zoning Board of Appeals has already approved a total of nine dispensary applicants plus one cultivation center for special use permits. For background, see an article I wrote last week: Chicago gives six more special use permits for dispensary

Des Plaines gives conditional use permit to Prime Wellness dispensary

Des Plaines City Council voted unanimously to grant a conditional use permit to Prime Wellness of Illinois.

According to Chicago Tribune: Des Plaines OKs medical marijuana dispensary:

The council was poised to approve the permit at its last meeting in November, but several aldermen halted the process so city officials could consider additional fees they may want to impose upon this and any future medical marijuana dispensary in Des Plaines.

So in addition to granting a conditional use permit to Prime Wellness, City Council also unanimously voted to enact an ordinance that imposes a $15,000 annual impact fee on dispensaries.

If a medical marijuana dispensary were allowed to open in the city, the police department estimates that the cost of increased monitoring, patrol and law enforcement would likely total $15,000 per year, according to a memo from community and economic development director George Sakas to city manager Michael Bartholomew.

Following city staff members’ recommendation, the council unanimously approved an ordinance that would impose a $15,000 annual fee on any medical marijuana dispensary within the city.

…Sakas said that city employees had spoken with representatives from Prime Wellness of Illinois and that the company had agreed to pay the impact fee.

Elk Grove Village and Schaumburg are also considering impact fees for dispensaries. Schaumburg is reportedly thinking $100,000 may be appropriate. For background, see an article I wrote last week: Impact fees for dispensaries in Des Plaines, Schaumburg, Elk Grove?

Peoria cannabis special use ordinance considered

Peoria City Council marks up a proposed zoning ordinance; a physician is fined for offering pre-approval to prospective patients; and Good Intentions prepares a float for Chicago’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Peoria, IL cannabis zoning ordinance

Peoria (Wikipedia Commons, KevinMay.com)

Peoria deliberates new zoning ordinance

Peoria is deliberating whether to enact a zoning ordinance for cultivation centers and dispensaries. A proposed ordinance for cannabis businesses was marked up at a City Council meeting on Nov. 25, and the issue may be taken up again at the City Council’s next meeting.

According to an article in CentralIllinoisProud.com: Zoning Regulations May Change for Medical Marijuana Businesses:

The requested ordinance would now require dispensaries and cultivation centers to get special use zoning approval. Two dispensaries and one cultivation center have previously been approved without this requirement.

The city’s attorney said that once this ordinance is drafted, he doesn’t believe it could be retroactively applied to those already given the green light. Councilman at-large Chuck Grayeb was one of the council members that said they aren’t comfortable with those businesses being immune to any new ordinance created.

“I just dislike the whole process,” Grayeb admitted, “It leaves a bad taste in my mouth the way that this has been handled.”

Illinois physician fined for offering “pre-approval” to patients

According to Associated Press: CHICAGO: Illinois doctor fined over medical marijuana slip

Authorities put Dr. Brian Murray on probation for two years and fined him $10,000. A phone message left for Murray’s attorney Wednesday wasn’t immediately returned.

Tammy Jacobi is CEO of Good Intentions Medical Marijuana Services, where Murray once worked. She said Wednesday the business is referring patients to other doctors now.

Illinois law requires a doctor’s certification before a patient can use marijuana. The law requires a bona fide doctor-patient relationship, including an exam. Doctors can’t accept payments for the certification itself.

Chicago Health Online article explains some background on Dr. Murray and Good Intentions: Marijuana Medical Clinic is Good for Business While Helping Patients Find Relief

Good Intentions float in Thanksgiving Parade

Good Intentions has a float in McDonald’s State Street Thanksgiving Day Parade in Chicago this week.

According to DNAinfo Chicago: Medical Marijuana Float to Debut in Thanksgiving Day Parade:

The float will feature “a garden of flowers in bloom,” including onion grass and flowers beneath a 12-foot-long banner that reads “Growing With Illinois.”

…”Just as plants grow and flower, the company has blossomed into an organization that provides hope for the most seriously ill citizens of Illinois,” said Good Intentions owner Tammy Jacobi.

Passengers on the float will toss out bead necklaces, toy turkeys on parachutes, candy footballs and coins to the crowd.

On its website, Good Intentions promotes a $159 Comprehensive Service Plan for Illinois Medical Marijuana Patient Candidates.

Chicago gives six more special use permits for dispensary

Chicago’s Zoning Board of Appeals awarded six more special use permits to dispensaries. The Board also awarded its first special use permit for a cultivation center. Meanwhile Edward Burke says his security ordinance is not dead and there is enough city council support to pass it.

Most of the following information is clipped from a Chicago Tribune article: Panel approves 6 more marijuana dispensaries, denies 1 for Wicker Park

Illinois dispensary display counters

Dispensary display cases. Photo by Sonya Yruel/Drug Policy Alliance

Six dispensaries get special use permits

The Zoning Board of Appeals made a decision to approve the requests of six dispensary groups for a special use permit. The Board denied one dispensary group’s request and postponed making a decision on six other requests. The Board had already approved three other dispensary groups at a previous meeting.

Chicago Tribune gives this information about the six recipients of special use permits:

1.– Perry Mandera, owner of a Near North Side strip club called VIP’s, A Gentleman’s Club, got the go-ahead for a permit to operate a cannabis dispensary in the meatpacking area of the West Town neighborhood, at 1105 W. Fulton Market.

2. and  3.– Ald. Ed Burke had asked at a previous meeting that a proposed dispensary in his 14th Ward, at 4568-70 S. Archer Ave., be deferred as he pushed for tougher security measures, including 24-hour security guards at all Chicago dispensaries. On Friday, Burke threw his support behind the application for that business and one at 5648 S. Archer Ave. The Zoning Board approved permits for both.

4.– 44758 N. Milwaukee Ave., where a group that also has licenses to sell marijuana in Massachusetts, Washington, D.C., Nevada and Arizona wants to set up shop along a commercial strip near the Jefferson Park bungalow belt.

5.– In a strip mall at 2723 N. Elston Ave., just south of a six-way intersection with Western and Diversey avenues, where applicants said they would also likely sell books, candles and other “complementary” products.

6.– 500 W. 18th St., east of the Dan Ryan Expressway between the Pilsen and South Loop neighborhoods.

One dispensary request denied

It appears the Board is examining the merits of each request individually. One group failed to meet the Board’s standards, and the Board articulated a justification for denying a permit.

The board denied the application for a proposed dispensary at 1811 W. North Ave., near the heart of the Wicker Park neighborhood. Board members expressed concern about CEO Tami Marron’s plan to allow people who had not qualified to receive medical marijuana into the business for consultations.

And they questioned her about the fact her company had not yet reached an agreement with a bank to accept the large cash deposits from the depository.

City spokesman Pete Strazzabosco said the board cited an “interior configuration issue that would have an adverse impact on the public way and patient environment” in denying the North Avenue application.

One cultivation center gets special use permit

The Chicago Tribune article says only:

In addition, the Zoning Board heard its first plan for a marijuana-growing facility, approving an application at 12233 S. Avenue O near the Hegewisch neighborhood on the Far Southeast Side.

Decision postponed on six dispensary requests

The Board passed on making a decision on six other dispensary requests for special use permits, generally so that more information could be obtained.

Burke still wants to pass his security ordinance

Yesterday I wrote that mayoral candidate Bob Fioretti had “killed” Edward Burke’s proposed security ordinance. Burke says the ordinance is actually alive and well, and he thinks he can pass it. Burke says he has a separate Legal Opinion stating that the ordinance does not overstep City of Chicago’s Home Rule authority.

Lawyers can have different opinions, and my attorneys tell me we’re on very solid ground with this,” Burke said. “And I believe a majority of members of the City Council will support it as well.”

Incidentally, do you know what’s worse than hiring an attorney?

…NOT hiring one, of course!

Home-Rule Concerns Kill Chicago Zoning Ordinance

Mayoral candidate Bob Fioretti has killed an ordinance that would have required cultivation centers and dispensaries in Chicago to use 24-7 services from a private security contractor. First he stunned it with a “parliamentary maneuver.” Then he finished it by dropping a devastating Opinion from the City’s legal department citing home-rule authority concerns.

Chicago Sun-Times’ Early & Often covers the excitement in an article titled: “City Council shelves security crackdown for medical pot”

“The real question here is, why didn’t the Law Department come forward when they knew they had an opinion? Why are they hiding certain information? Who are they protecting? Typical of this administration. They hide documents. They keep hiding things from the City Council,” Fioretti said.

“Safety is paramount in everything we do. But, under compassionate use of marijuana laws, the [Illinois] Departments of Finance and Professional Regulation and Agriculture have promulgated regulations on security and the transportation of marijuana. Our ordinance runs afoul of it. We cannot regulate them. Somebody should have come forward and been open with us that there were questions as to the legality of the ordinance.”

City of Chicago Law Dept. Opinion: Ordinance violates Home-Rule authority

As for the substance of the Legal Department’s Opinion:

It concludes that state law already outlines security and transportation measures that marijuana dispensaries and cultivation centers must follow and  that “no local municipality shall impose” restrictions that go beyond those terms.

“The requirements set forth in the proposed ordinance would not be in the city authority to enact,” the opinion states.

“The proposed ordinance attempts to regulate in subject matters that IDPR has already issued regulations for…Thus, the proposed ordinance runs afoul of the home rule pre-emptions and the city cannot regulate these entities in this manner through the special-use permit.”

We’ve been covering the ordinance’s progress. You can read about it here:

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Revised Chicago Dispensary Ordinance Removes Loading Provision

A proposed ordinance in Chicago passed the City’s Committee on Zoning, Landmarks, and Building Standards on Nov. 13. A provision requiring that unloading of medicine take place in an area not visible to the public has been removed, but the ordinance still requires cultivation centers and dispensaries to engage the services of a private security contractor to maintain a 24-7 presence at facilities. Also surviving is a provision requiring that medicine and paraphernalia not be visible from outside a dispensary.

Chicago Zoning Committee cannabis ordinance

Chicago City Council (Photo by nbcchicago.com)

Chicago Sun Times says Finance Committee Chairman Edward Burke and Zoning Committee Chairman Danny Solis removed the loading provision “amid concern that it would create an “undue burden” for the fledgling medical marijuana industry.”

At the time I published this article, the revised ordinance and minutes of the Zoning Committee’s meeting had not been uploaded to the City’s website. The revised version of the ordinance should eventually appear here: Legislative history of Ordinance 02014-8106: Amendment of Municipal Code Section 17-9-0129 regarding medical cannabis dispensing organizations and cultivation centers

An earlier article I wrote upon the introduction of the ordinance is available here: Chicago Zoning Amendment Wants 24-hour Private Security Contractor

Dangers of a Cash-only Business

According to the Sun Times article:

On Thursday, Burke portrayed medical marijuana as an “all-cash” business that poses “unique and serious safety concerns.” That’s because, since marijuana remains illegal under federal law, federally regulated financial institutions “generally do not provide banking services” to marijuana-related businesses, he said.

The alderman noted that there were 317 burglaries and seven robberies reported at Denver’s 700 licensed marijuana stores and cultivation centers over the last two years and that similar facilities in California have been the scene of “at least three fatal shootings.”

Then, he told a harrowing story of violence in California that must have scared his colleagues half to death….

You’ll have to read the Sun Times article for details about Burke’s story. I don’t want to repeat it.

“I’m not making this up, ladies and gentlemen. This is what’s going on in [California and] Colorado. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to enact a provision in our municipal code to maintain reasonable amounts of private security at locations where this product is gonna be sold and distributed,” he said.

The proposed zoning ordinance is not yet effective. It still must obtain approval from Chicago City Council.

A proposed zoning ordinance in Chicago would require dispensaries and cultivation centers to use an independent security contractor as a condition of the City’s special use permit for medical cannabis. The ordinance would also require marijuana businesses to conduct loading and unloading of cannabis product shipments in a secure area outside of public view.

Click to view the proposed ordinance: Amendment of Municipal Code Section 17-9-0129 regarding medical cannabis dispensing organizations and and cultivation centers.

Chicago Tribune: Round-the-clock security wanted for Chicago medical marijuana shops

Chicago Sun Times: Aldermen demand security and loading controls for medical pot

24-hour Private Security Protection

The proposed ordinance states:

Medical cannabis dispensing organizations and cultivation centers shall be required to maintain the services of an Illinois licensed private security contractor and maintain a private security contractor presence at their facilities 24 hours per day and 7 days per week.

The transportation, loading, and unloading of any cannabis or cannabis-infused products shall be conducted under the supervision of an Illinois licensed private security contractor.

Unloading Outside of Public View

The proposed ordinance states:

The loading and unloading of any cannabis or cannabis infused products at medical cannabis dispensing organizations shall take place in a secure loading area and shall not be visible to the general public.  

Medical cannabis dispensing organizations shall not be maintained or operated in a manner that creates or allows the public viewing of cannabis, cannabis infused products, cannabis paraphernalia, or similar products from any sidewalk, or public or private right-of-way.

Illinois’ Ag. Dept. and DFPR have announced the number of cultivation center and dispensary applications in each Illinois State Police District.

Click here for the agencies’ press release: Cultivation Center and Dispensary Applications Reported by District.

Number of applicants per district

Cultivation center applications per ISP district. Click to zoom.

Noteworthy cultivation center info

  • The three most competitive districts are near Chicago: 14 applications in District 5 (Grundy, Kendall, Will Counties), 13 applications in District 17 (Bureau, LaSalle, Putnam), 13 applications in District 1 (Carroll, Lee, Ogle, Whiteside Counties).
  • The three least competitive districts are sparsely populated and far from Chicago: three applications in District 19 (Edwards, Gallatin, Hamilton, Saline, Wabash, Wayne, White Counties), three applications in District 14 (Fulton, Hancock, Henderson, McDonough, Warren Counties), four applications in District 12 (Clark, Clay, Crawford, Cumberland, Effingham, Fayette, Jasper, Lawrence, Marion, Richland Counties).

Noteworthy dispensary info:

Some dispensary licensing districts received no applications or only one or two applications. In districts with only one application, the applicant could be a winner by default if DFPR determines it is qualified. Additionally, there are two licensing districts in Chicago that are allocated two licensees and which received only two applications, meaning both applicants could be winners by default if DFPR determines them qualified.

As for districts without applicants, the State’s press release says, “Following the completion of the initial dispensary and cultivation center selection process, the state will initiate a second application period for those districts where no qualified applications were submitted.” (emphasis added).

Some of the dispensary districts in and around Cook County get more than one licensee. See here for distribution of dispensaries in Chicago.

  • No applications in DeKalb County.
  • No applications in Ford, Iroqouis, or Kankakee Counties.
  • No applications in South Township (City of Chicago).
  • Only one application in Illinois State Police District 7, meaning the applicant could be winner by default if determined qualified by DFPR.
  • Only one application in Illinois State Police District 12, meaning the applicant could be winner by default if determined qualified by DFPR.
  • Only one application in Illinois State Police District 14, meaning the applicant could be winner by default if determined qualified by DFPR.
  • Only one application in Illinois State Police District 18, meaning the applicant could be winner by default if determined qualified by DFPR.
  • Only one application in Illinois State Police District 19, meaning the applicant could be winner by default if determined qualified by DFPR.
  • Only one application in Illinois State Police District 22, meaning the applicant could be winner by default if determined qualified by DFPR.
  • Only one application in Rogers Park Township (City of Chicago), meaning the applicant could be winner by default if determined qualified by DFPR.
  • Only two applications in Hyde Park Township (City of Chicago), which receives two licensees, meaning both applicants could be winners by default if determined qualified by DFPR.
  • Only two applications in Lake Township (City of Chicago), which receives two licensees, meaning both applicants could be winners by default if determined qualified by DFPR.

What’s Next = Job Creation

21 cultivation centers creating at least 25 jobs means 525 new jobs.

60 cultivation centers creating at least 8 jobs means 480 new jobs.

That’s more than 1000 new jobs.

If you are someone you know is interested in one of these jobs, I may be able to help. Please see the Jobs Page of this website. More information coming soon.

DFPR hiring Administrative Assistant for cannabis pilot program

The State of Illinois, through the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (DFPR), is hiring an Administrative Assistant to help implement the new medical marijuana law. The position is in a Chicago, Cook County Office and pays $4,159.00 – $6,218.00 monthly. Requires four years of college; preference for applicants who demonstrate working knowledge of the medical cannabis pilot program. Applications are due Sept. 3.

See the job posting: Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (DFPR), Cook County, Administrative Assistant

(If the above link doesn’t work, search job postings on the Work 4 Illinois website for the word “cannabis.”)

Description of Duties: Under general direction, performs administrative functions for the Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Section in accordance with the Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act and the related rules and regulations; assists in the planning, directing and evaluating of section functions; provides coordinative assistance to management related to the Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Section. Travels to various sites to attend meetings and conferences. Provides technical support to management staff. Assists with special projects; researches problems and conducts various studies.

Minimum Requirements: Requires knowledge, skill and mental development equivalent to completion of four years of college, preferably with courses in public or business administration. Requires one year of professional experience in a public or private organization, or completion of an agency approved professional management training program. Prefers attention to detail, prompt responsiveness to inquiries and requests and a working knowledge of the Medical Cannabis Pilot Program, the policies and procedures of the Department and Division.

Town hall meetings for Illinois’ medical marijuana program concluded this week. Draft applications for cultivation centers and dispensaries were pensive subjects. Questions focused on cannabis packaging, edibles, infused products and fingerprinting.

Journal-Star says “more than 100 people” attended Monday’s forum at Peoria’s public library, and most of their questions sought clarification of regulatory rules and draft applications.

Disclose everything.

A takeaway theme from the Journal-Star is that applicants are better off disclosing more information than too little. If something is questionable, you should explain it. (This is intuitive, not surprising at all, to a highly qualified application writer who is passionate about Illinois medical cannabis law and regulations).

“We prefer more information than less,” [said Bob Morgan, an attorney for the Illinois Department of Public Health and the coordinator of the Medical Cannabis Pilot Program]. “When there’s a question, we prefer more.”

“I would lean toward disclosure… If you don’t know whether to include something, go ahead and include it,” said Ray Watson, general counsel for the Illinois Department of Agriculture. 

Preference for Illinois residents?… Out-of-state experience?

The Journal-Star says lawyers wanted to know if preferential treatment would be given to in-state residents or organizations with cannabis experience in other regulated medical cannabis states.

Several attorneys who spoke referenced either out-of-state clients interested in expanding businesses from other medical marijuana states or home state clients wondering how they could compete against others who already had experience in the trade.

“We try to find an appropriate balance between encouraging those with experience versus those based in Illinois,” Morgan said. “We’re stuck trying to find the most qualified with a limited number of licenses.”

Unlike Colorado, Illinois law does not have an in-state residency requirement for ownership or participation in a licensed medical cannabis business. Regulations make clear that specialized experience related to cannabis medicine is desirable, but it’s difficult to demonstrate legal cannabis experience in Illinois without partnering with or otherwise employing out-of-state talent. A small preference for in-state residents manifests itself in the form of bonus points attainable by showing a company and owners have real ties to the state, such as organizational headquarters and residency.

Packaging of cannabis buds, edibles, infused products?

Chicago Tribune estimates “nearly 300 people” attended Wednesday’s town hall in Chicago. Associated Press says it was “attended by more than 500 people.”

Both newspapers say cannabis packaging at cultivation centers and dispensaries was a focal point of the audience:

Will retailers be able to open a package of marijuana to give customers a whiff?” (is the lead sentence of AP’s article).

“…A lot of people do like to see what they’re buying,” said Roeper, an attendee who asked whether dispensaries will be able to open marijuana packaging to let customers see and smell the product. Illinois requires medical cannabis to be kept in child resistant, light-resistant packaging.

Roeper didn’t get a direct answer, but was told the Illinois rules require that marijuana from an opened package must be disposed of within a week in a way that makes it unusable. Presumably, retailers could open samples for customers to see and smell, then destroy samples each week.

One cannabis packaging company in Illinois is already abreast of the regulations and is providing cultivation centers and dispensaries with help on the Product Safety & Labeling Plan part of their applications. Fisher Container Corp. of Buffalo Grove has a child-resistant, tamper-evident pouch called the MEDI-CRREO which is proving popular among cultivation centers because it is flexible, light-resistant, and tamper-evident. A clever pinch and zip design makes the pouch child-resistant.

Entities providing cultivation services to more than one organization?

According to Associated Press:

A master grower can work for multiple centers, with a caveat: The rules bar a single entity from winning permits for more than three cultivation centers and five dispensaries. If one master grower is named as a principal officer by numerous applicants, that could jeopardize the chances for any one of the applicants, Watson said.

“We’re trying to avoid concentration of permits in too few hands,” Watson said. “If someone is participating in 15 different applications, they may be affecting the ability of those who are applying.”

Avoiding Massachusetts’ problems

Associated Press again:

James Watts, of Firm Systems Fingerprinting, asked whether fingerprint-based background checks would reveal out-of-state convictions. He was told the current system does not, but that applicants will be required to disclose such convictions.

… And please, do disclose and be honest about everything. For you own sake, for the sake of other applicants, for the State of Illinois, for patients, and for the sake of making real social progress with cannabis issues. Illinois can’t afford to end up like Massachusetts.

Tactical Security LLC of Waukegan, is a locally-owned, Illinois-licensed private security agency that writes security plans for medical cannabis dispensaries, cultivation centers, and transportation. Since 2007, our team of experienced law enforcement and security professionals has been ensuring the safety of clients, currency and property throughout metro Chicago and Cook, Lake, DuPage, McHenry, Kane, DeKalb, Boone, Winnebago, Stephenson, and Jo Daviess Counties.

[Guest Post – Promotional Material]

Tactical Security plans are tailored to the unique needs of each facility

Tactical Security LLC provides comprehensive security planning for cultivation center and dispensary applicants. Our experienced law enforcement and security professionals have closely studied the Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act and subsequent regulations administered by the Department of Agriculture and Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (DFPR). We are more than prepared to meet and exceed the rigorous security requirements involved in protecting marijuana facilities and transporation.

cannabis security plan

Tactical Security plans for Illinois medical cannabis industry

And because Tactical Security has years of experience providing security in Illinois, we understand precisely what the State’s regulatory agencies are looking for in a successful application. We will reach for every possible point on the security plan part of your application. Our comprehensive services entail closely scrutinizing your facility design and advising how best to deploy all of the application’s required security measures. We will help you understand all of your options for video surveillance hardware, software, equipment, security vehicles, and service packages. And most importantly, we will deliver a sophisticated written security plan that is tailored to the exact specifications of your facility. This is what you must submit to the regulatory agency for ultimate review by Illinois State Police.

Tactical Security for cultivation centers

Our law enforcement and security professionals tailor security plans to fit all compliance requirements of a cultivation center facility as required by law and regulations. This includes:

  • Description of “enclosed locked facility” and the areas used to store or secure cannabis.
  • Employee management and oversight guidance.
  • Facility access controls.
  • Perimeter intrusion detection and alarm systems.
  • Personnel identification systems.
  • Electronic 24-hour surveillance system to monitor interior and exterior of facility, accessible in real-time to DFPR and authorized law enforcement officers.
  • Fully operational security alarm system.
  • Safe, vault, and other equipment guidance and acquisition.
  • Demonstration of ability to prevent theft and diversion.
  • Transportation plan including procedures for safely and securely delivering cannabis medicine and currency to registered dispensaries.

Tactical Security’s knowledge of Illinois terrain is critical to transportation plan

When it comes to transportation, Tactical Security has a fundamental understanding of Illinois that out-of-state contractors simply cannot provide. We know the streets, highways and backroads of Illinois and its cities. We know criminal methods and local high-risk areas, and we take proactive steps to foresee and avoid them.

Tactical Security supplies:

  • Vehicles that are ideal for transporting cannabis and currency.
  • Randomized transportation routes and schedules that avoid high risk times and areas.
  • Trained, experienced security personnel to drive the vehicle.
  • Equipment for secure communication between security vehicle and cultivation center.

Tactical Security for dispensaries

Our law enforcement and security professionals tailor security plans to fit all compliance requirements of a dispensary facility as required by law and regulations. This includes:

  • Cannabis transportation security

    Tactical Security’s MM Division protects dispensaries and cultivation centers.

    Smart, compliant designation between restricted access areas, limited access areas, and customer floor space.

  • Security measures to prevent entry into and theft from restricted access areas.
  • Smart locks, storage, safe and vault facilities and design.
  • Locked door or barrier between facility’s entrance and limited access area.
  • Plan for preventing individuals from remaining on premises if they are not permitted by law or regulation.
  • Development of policy for maximum capacity and patient flow in waiting room and patient care areas.
  • Perimeter alarm on all entry points and perimeter windows.
  • Failure notification system that provides an audible, text or visual notification of any failure in the surveillance system.
  • Duress alarm, panic button and alarm, holdup alarm or after hours intrusion detection alarm that will notify the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) for the law enforcement agency having primary jurisdiction.
  • Unobstructed video surveillance of all enclosed dispensary areas, including all points of entry and exit that shall be appropriate for the normal lighting conditions of the area under surveillance.
  • Unobstructed surveillance of outside areas.
  • 24-hour recordings from all video cameras.
  • Ability to remain operational during a power outage and ensure all access doors are not solely controlled by an electronic access panel to ensure that locks are not released during a power outage.
  • Plan for prohibiting accessibility of security measures including combination numbers, passwords or electronic or biometric security systems to persons other than specifically authorized agents.
  • Protocol for unloading shipments arriving from a cultivation center.
  • Sufficient lighting of outside perimeter to facilitate surveillance.
  • Ensuring that no trees, bushes and other foliage allow for a person to conceal themselves from sight.
  • Emergency policies and procedures for securing all product and currency following any instance of diversion, theft or loss of cannabis.

Tactical Security is an Illinois company employing American veterans

Implicit in the Ag Dept. and DFPR regulations is a concern for Illinois’ economy and environment. The regulations allow applicants to obtain bonus points by demonstrating a Community Benefits Plan, a Local Community/Neighborhood Report, and an Environmental Plan (Ag Dept Regulations Section 1000.110(c), DFPR Regulations Section 1290.70(d)). Your application writer may be able to reach for bonus points by demonstrating Tactical Security’s commitment to hiring Illinois residents and to sourcing security solutions that originate in Illinois. We are also passionate about taking care of our returning troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, many of whom are perfectly trained for protecting security transport vehicles containing cannabis and currency.

Contact Tactical Security LLC at are Waukegan, Illinois office: (847) 263-1900.


3C Compassionate Care is applying for cannabis dispensary permits in Naperville and Joliet, Illinois. Proprietors of the company are Hugo and Traci Fernandez, Kathy Tucker and Will County Circuit Judge Robert Livas. 3C Compasionate Care promises to deliver 25% of profits to charity and local communities.

3C Compassionate Care3C Compassionate Care has a website where you can learn about their plans to open dispensaries in Naperville and Joliet.

There is also an informative article from Chicago Tribune:

Hugo and Traci Fernandez have proposed a facility at 1701 Quincy Ave. drawing on their own personal experience with neurological conditions. They are hoping the state will grant them a license later this year.

The couple already runs both an Internet marketing agency and a nonprofit group, the United Paralysis Foundation. The latter stemmed from Traci Fernandez’s battle with transverse myelitis, a neurological disorder she contracted in 2008 that left her paralyzed. The foundation funds research for paralysis and spinal cord injuries.


3C Dispensary Naperville, Joliet

Meet 3C Compassionate Care’s executive team

3C Compassionate Care’s biographical information and credentials are displayed on their website. Hugo Fernandez is CEO, Kathy Tucker is COO, Traci Fernandez is Compliance Officer, and Judge Robert Livas is Security Officer.

The company expects to have such a successful business that it is promising 25% of profits away:

They are pledging 20 percent of the profits to their foundation and another 5 percent to the local communities where they run dispensaries. In addition to opening a Naperville dispensary, the company hopes to open one in Joliet.

The company’s planned location in Joliet is in the Rock Run Business Park.