Will a three-in-one adult cannabis dispensary plus be a new Chicago Avenue resident?


This Google shot shows the buildings with 1924 W. Chicago on the left and 1914 on the right

A blended recreational cannabis (weed) dispensary with a spa/wellness center and, eventually, a restaurant with cannabis infused foods is the hope of a diverse partnership that includes a restaurateur, two physicians, president of a labor union, a union consultant who is a marathoner and a former alderman. Their concepts were presented for the second time to the East Village Association (EVA) Monday night in Roots Pizza, 1924 W. Chicago Ave., for the proposed site at 1914 W. Chicago Ave.  


Scott Weiner answers questions as Dr. Chiampas sits on the right

"They are looking for our conceptual support," explained EVA President Michael VanDam as he introduced Scott Weiner, President of Fifty/50 Management Group (owners of Roots, West Town Bakery and other businesses) to speak on behalf of his fellow partners on the potential new business complex. 

Their concept goes beyond having a dispensary. They envision concentrating on offering wellness services that include yoga, massage and even salt baths. These services would help a customer address stress, strains and pains which may or may not include the use of cannabis products. 


This Google shows the back of 1914 W. Chicago

The footprint of the existing three story building would be extended in the back, replacing existing parking spaces. Eventually, if the laws change to allow serving hot food infused with cannabis, they would possibly take over the Homestead roof area, atop the West Town Bakery for a restaurant. 

All of these plans are conditional on them obtaining one of the 75 new licenses on May 1 and winning being able to locate on Chicago Ave. If all goes as hoped and planned, the group would return to the group for other things such as a zoning change. They have agreed that the zoning change would be tied to a Type 1 agreement that would address usage under any new zoning. A C-2 zone is required for the new dispensaries.

The Team
To increase the possibility of obtaining a license, they applied as a "social equity" group. Their 51% ownership by two black women, and commitment to the education of youth job training and a pathway to union job opportunities probably puts them in a better track for selection.

Hanah Jubeh

Hanah Jubeh

The women with 51% ownership are Dr. Charles Neka Evans, a physician, and Nikki Hayes, President of Laborers International Union of North America, Local 1001, and owner of Pier 31, a restaurant and bar on Chicago’s South Side., explained another partner Hanah Jubeh.

"I believe that our social enterprise wellness component is unique and that most other applicants have not offered that."

Jubeh is a political and strategic communications consultant whose background is in government and organized labor. A marathoner, she is the one who came up with the original idea for this unique business concept. 

“There’s not a really good recovery place to get health and wellness, food and beverage, as well as cannabis, and give people an experience,” points out Jubeh. 

She took the idea to Dr. George Chiampas, a Northwestern Hospital emergency room doc and Assistant Professor who is also Medical Director of the Chicago Marathon and a physician for the Chicago Blackhawks and the US Soccer teams, and former 47th Ward Alderman Ameya Pawar who ran, briefly for governor in 2017 and lost last year's race for City Treasurer.

Dispensary 33 in the 5000 block of N. Clark will manage the operation, said Weiner. He explained that they have been a medicinal dispensary with an excellent track record, including in security. 


Neal McKnight (c) with Tom Tomek (l) Stephen Rynkiewicz (r)

Community acceptance
At the end of the discussion VanDam explained that a vote would be taken. "We are voting to not oppose moving forward with this proposal at the Chicago Ave. location." A hand vote clearly showed the community's preference to support the proposed endeavor.

Former EVA President Neal McKnight, thanked Weiner and his team for bringing the project to the community first.

Market Overview
In May, 75 new Illinois licenses are to be issued as standalone stores. In Chicago there are rules that restrict where the shops may be located. 

The City has been divided into seven zones and the ordinance details include how many and where pot shops can be located in a zone.

With close to $11 million dollars in sales rolling in across Illinois since Jan. 1, the interest in getting in on this new market is keen.

Along with that some problems have occurred.

Several locations had to close their doors on Monday because they sold out of all their product. Some say they will not open again until next week. Most medicinal sites say they protected product for their regular customers.

In Logan Square at the MOCA - Modern Cannabis Dispensary, 2847 W. Fullerton Ave. at approximately 8:34 a.m., Mon., Jan. 6, owners discovered the business had been broken into. 

The offenders entered a side door, possibly with a key card. The burglars got away with an undisclosed amount of cash.



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