UPDATED 5:30 P.M. | The Bloomington City Council on Monday will consider plans for the city’s first cannabis dispensary.
Jushi, the company that owns the cannabis shop in north Normal, wants to add a new Beyond Hello location at the former Slim Chickens restaurant site at 118 Keaton Place near Veterans Parkway and G.E. Road. Its first location opened in May.
Jushi owns marijuana dispensaries in more than a dozen locations in six states. It's other Illinois store is in Sauget near St. Louis.
The company is seeking a special-use permit in the area that is zoned B-1 for commercial use.
Nathan Wang manages new markets for Jushi.
“We were incredibly excited to have the opportunity to bring a second location to the same community in a more central location that will give better access to all of the new customers we are having and growing,” Wang said.
Wang added adult-use cannabis sales in Normal have been strong even with online and curbside limits because of the pandemic.
“It’s just an effort to make sure we are being as safe as possible in terms of doing our part to curb the pandemic,” Wang said.
The store in Normal offers limited in-store shopping for medical marijuana customers.
Jushi is seeking a license for the Bloomington location from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. The state agency has allowed companies with medical marijuana licenses to seek licenses to sell recreational pot at two locations in the same community.
Wang said the company hopes to have the site open by the end of the year.
The city council in December allowed cannabis dispensaries to operate in the city, but under strict zoning requirements. The council also voted against permitting on-site consumption, or any other type of marijuana business, such as growers, infusers or transporters.
The city collects a 3% tax on cannabis sales.
Bloomington’s Zoning Board of Appeals recommended approval of the plan in a 6-1 vote in August.
Jushi plans to have the site open by the end of the year. The facility in Normal is handling recreational sales for online and curbside customers only because of the pandemic.
The city council also will consider a 3% pay raise and two-year contract extension for city manager Tim Gleason. According to city documents, the city council gave Gleason the highest ranking in a performance review following his second year on the job.
The new contract, if approved, would extend until July 2024. It would raise his base salary to just over $197,000.
Gleason was the city manager in Decatur before he came to Bloomington in July 2018.
Downtown Task Force
The city council also will consider adopting an updated downtown task force report. A committee produced recommendations to improve downtown in 2017, but the city council shelved the report at the time because the Bloomington Public Library resisted the proposed catalyst project, a new library and Connect Transit transfer center at the same time.
City staff has updated the document with original recommendations the city has already implemented, including sidewalk and ADA improvements, new electrical conduits along Front Street and expanded landscaping at the Law and Justice Center.
And, the council will consider a $534,00 contract with N Zobrist Construction of Morton to build the DeBrazza Plaza monkey exhibit at Miller Park Zoo.
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