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Bloomington gives preliminary approval for a 2nd cannabis dispensary

Cannabis store
Charlie Schlenker
Bloomington-Normal's first cannabis store, Beyond/Hello opened in Normal in May 2020.

A second marijuana dispensary could come to Bloomington.

The city's Zoning Board of Appeals has signed off on a request for a special-use permit for a new cannabis store. It would be located in front of Wal-Mart in a currently vacant building at 1006 J.C. Parkway.

The application was submitted by Project Equity Illinois. The group calls itself a “dream team of cannabis professionals” that has decades of experience in “regulated retail, cultivation and other cannabis endeavors.” Project Equity said four of its six partners are Illinois natives and said the group operates dispensaries in California, Washington, Maine and Hawaii. Representatives with the group were not immediately available for comment.

ZBA chair Terry Ballantini said the application met all 16 conditions for the project to gain approval, including proximity to nearby businesses, impact on traffic and parking and general quality of life in the area.

“We felt comfortable with their presentation and from what we have learned from them as an entity,” Ballantini said.

Ballantini said developers project the marijuana dispensary would generate $300,000 in annual tax revenue for the city and generate 20 jobs.

The proposal will go before the Bloomington City Council on June 13.

Bloomington and Normal each have one cannabis dispensary since Illinois legalized the production and sale of marijuana. Those dispensaries have generated a sizable tax windfall for Bloomington, Normal and McLean County governments.

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