BY EVAN F. MOORE Correspondent September 7, 2014 6:58PM
Bonnie Consentino, of Worth, a cancer patient, makes her case for a medicinal marijuana dispensary at a public hearing Friday. | Evan F. Moore/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 7, 2014 7:30PM
Illinois will begin accepting applications for medical marijuana dispensaries on Monday, and the village of Worth hopes to land one of the 60 to be licensed statewide.
The village board Friday voted unanimously to approve a special-use permit and the location, 11425 S. Harlem Ave., for a dispensary proposed by the Chicago-based Windy City Cannabis Club.
Before the full board voted, the real estate development committee voted 5-2 to recommend the request for a special-use zoning permit. The committee did not recommend the location, which is in a vacant part of the building just off the busy intersection of 115th Street and Harlem Avenue.
Residents both for and against the proposed dispensary made their opinions known before the vote. Citizens and village officials alike voiced concerns about security, parking, traffic and the possibility that patients would resell marijuana. About 20 residents were on hand.
Village resident Bonnie Consentino, a cancer survivor, is for the dispensary. She said she had to resort to buying marijuana on the street to help treat her pain. She also gave the board a stern warning before it voted.
“Think of it if it was your wife (experiencing pain). Think of it if it was your child,” Consentino said. “I’m pleading with you to pass this. If you vote this down, shame on you.”
Susan Banks, who lives across the street from the proposed site, understands the need for medicinal marijuana but has worries about the location.
“I can’t get out of my driveway sometimes,” Banks said. “I’m for the dispensary but against the location. The traffic at the red light at 115th is a problem.”
Steve Weisman, co-owner of the Windy City Cannabis Club, told the board the center would provide 16 full-time jobs and that village residents would get preference in the hiring process. The jobs would pay $15 to $25 per hour with health benefits. The facility would be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week.
Many concerns raised by village officials were addressed by Weisman and village resident Shannon Beverly, a nursing assistant, of Advocate Christ Medical Center.
“Patients will be licensed by the department of health,” Weisman said. “Right now, there’s an enumerated list of conditions of which patients can receive medical marijuana. It’s a very limited list.”
Applications for dispensaries will be accepted until Sept. 22. The state expects them to begin operating in spring 2015.
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