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CITY HALL — The city's first medical marijuana cultivation center is one step closer to operating. The Zoning Board of Appeals took the first step toward approving a Chicago cultivation center for medical marijuana Friday, passing a proposal from a city trucking and strip-club magnate. The board approved a special-use permit for a proposed cultivation center in Hegewisch put forward by Custom Strains, owned by Perry Mandera, who also owns the Custom Companies trucking and Cardinal Fitness firms, as well as VIP's, which touts itself as the city's only "full liquor and topless bar," at 1531 N. Kingsbury St. In a marathon session that ran from the morning into the evening, the board also approved a permit for a Custom Strains dispensary for medical marijuana at 1105 W. Fulton Market, over some community resistance. The two facilities still must earn state approval as Illinois implements the medical-marijuana law passed last year. The city will have a maximum of one cultivation center and 13 dispensaries. The cultivation center was the first to earn a special-use permit. It would be located on an eight-acre site at 12233 S. Avenue O, between Wolf Lake and the Calumet River, but also near Interstates 90, 94 and 57. It would produce an estimated 4,500 pounds of medical marijuana a year, as well as processing it into topical oil and edible forms for ease of use by patients. Mandera testified Friday that he was bringing in experts experienced in the field from Colorado and Michigan, where medical marijuana has long been legal, to run the center, and that his own background in trucking would aid in distribution to dispensaries. The board was somewhat squeamish in approving its first permit for a cultivation center. "If I had sticky fingers ... how does the system catch me?" Chairman Jonathan Swain said. "That's my largest concern." Brett Roper, of Colorado's Medicine Man Technologies, testified that the Bio Track system follows plants from seedlings to finished product with weights down to the gram and beyond. "You typically know pretty quickly," Roper said, if there's any "pilferage." Perry Mandera (center) listens to Hunter Sutterfield (l.) testify at Friday's Zoning Board of Appeals meeting. View Full Caption DNAinfo/Ted Cox Robert Gedville, of Guardian Security Systems, said the facility would have 110 surveillance cameras, linked to the State Police and the state Department of Agriculture. Earlier in the day, Mandera testified that he has run Custom Companies since 1986 and Cardinal Fitness 21 years. He acknowledged he owns a business with a liquor license and a public entertainment license, but never mentioned it was a strip club, and the board never raised the issue. He said he had never been arrested or convicted of a crime, and has never had a business fail or filed for bankruptcy for any business. Mandera said that, if the dispensary were approved, he'd offer a 10 percent discount for veterans on all medical marijuana. Mandera said he served in the Marine Corps. Hunter Sutterfield, who would be brought in from running a dispensary in Tempe, Ariz., to handle the operation, testified that prices were typically $50 for an eighth of an ounce or or 3.5 grams, $20-$30 for a gram, consistent with "street value" by state statute. The "intent," they said, was to use the Custom Strains cultivation center if approved. The cultivation center had the support of Ald. John Pope (10th), but the Fulton Market dispensary met some public resistance before it won approval from the board. Six dispensaries' permits were approved Friday, including a permit for a Jefferson Park facility, as well as dispensaries at 4568 S. Archer Ave., 5648 S. Archer Ave., 2723 N. Elston Ave. and 500 W. 18th St. The board denied a permit for a Wicker Park dispensary at 1811 W. North Ave. after questioning the applicants on what Swain called "subjective" security arrangements.
Chicago Mayor Introduces Plan for Medical Marijuana Restrictions On Tuesday, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel introduced a plan that would limit where medical marijuana dispensaries and growing operations would be allowed to open once the new bill goes into effect January 1. Under Emanuel’s proposal, there would be special use permits from the Zoning Board of Appeals that would have to be issued to each dispensary or grow. Additionally, the plan would limit the number of collectives allowed in the city of Chicago and only let them operate in manufacturing districts. Alderman Edward Burke worked on the plan with the mayor. He explained, “We regulate everything from liquor licenses to how many residences may be built above a certain height, so it makes sense to give Chicago residents some control over where these types of operations can be located.” [Source]
Veterans Key To Medical Marijuana Lobby Efforts Chicago -- When a constant, “sputtering” pain grips Jim Champion’s arms and legs, the Army veteran says only one thing brings him relief: marijuana. Champion, who suffers from a progressive form of multiple sclerosis, hopes his experience with marijuana as medicine will help bring relief to other suffering veterans in Illinois. He’s told his story to Gov. Pat Quinn, who now faces a decision whether to sign a measure legalizing medical marijuana in the state. Read More..
Chicago Cops Unveil Biggest Marijuana Bust In 20 Years Chicago police unveiled the biggest marijuana bust in the city in 20 years the day after the City Council approved marijuana decriminalization for 15 grams or less. Citing safety reasons for officers involved in the investigation, police say they had to wait to announce the bust until today. “We’re talking about an ongoing investigation that it was not appropriate for us to do this two days ago,” [Police Supt. Garry] McCarthy said at a West Side press conference, surrounded by dozens of green plastic bales filled with dope. “We had agents and police on the street and there’s no way Garry and I were going to put them at risk,” added Jack Riley, special agent in charge of the Chicago office of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration. On Tuesday some eight tons of marijuana was found near a Chicago warehouse. Authorities say it was a shipment from Mexico via Texas. McCarthy went on to describe illegal drug sales as the “the lifeblood of gangs that are involved in violence day in and day out.” Which is 100% true. But for every eight tons confiscated, an untold amount of tons hit the streets, filling the pockets of violent people with cash. Cops can smile next to bales of weed for the cameras, but they are not reducing drug use and are making criminals rich. http://the420times.c...st-in-20-years/ Trix