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Bringing recreational pot to DeKalb a long game

DeKALB – The soonest any recreational marijuana could be sold in DeKalb County is July 1, and while it’s not yet clear whether a dispensary will open locally, a Chicago-based shop is hoping to lay down roots with a medical dispensary in DeKalb.

Mitch Zaveduk, of Chicago-based dispensary BQ Enterprises, is eyeing a 3,600-square-foot space at 700 Peace Road for a medical marijuana dispensary, and indicated they likely would pursue recreational sales, too, when the time comes.

The permit received full support by the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission on Wednesday, and will next go before the City Council for a final vote at a future date. The council Monday will take up an ordinance that would regulate recreational marijuana sales if a permit is approved at the state and local levels.

Planning commissioners Wednesday indicated support for medical dispensaries, despite a neighboring DeKalb businessman expressing concern that his employees might partake and then come to work under the influence.

“We are a drug-free industry, heavy industry; it’s hard work, and you must be very careful,” said Donald Jones, owner of DeKalb Forge, 1832 Pleasant St. “Drugs in our business, if you come in, we test you by the hair. If you start putting this program in there, what effect does that have on us?”

According to city documents, the state of Illinois will limit dispensaries to 500 statewide, with 75 permits for recreational use issued to new sellers beginning May 1. Applications for that period will be accepted Dec. 10 through Jan. 2.

Although it will be legal in Illinois on Jan. 1 for adults older than 21 to possess and use marijuana, early licenses will be limited to established medical dispensaries. There are no medical dispensaries in DeKalb County.

The Sycamore and Sandwich city councils are moving along with their own marijuana talks. The Sycamore City Council will vote on a similar ordinance Nov. 4.

On Wednesday, the Sandwich City Council indicated it could seek further input from residents before a vote, or it could have residents weigh in on the issue in a referendum vote in March.

Commissioner Ron Klein, who opposes recreational use, said he supports medical dispensaries and told Jones if BQ Enterprises came back to the commission for a second permit seeking recreational use, he would vote against it.

Zaveduk said he will meet with DeKalb police to discuss security and delivery of products to the store, and all security cameras at the facility would be open for police to view the live feed at any time. That would exclude cameras inside the building since HIPAA, the federal law restricting release of medical information, prohibits sharing the identity of those who would purchase the drug for medical reasons.

“We want to be a good neighbor to you guys as well,” Zaveduk said.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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