Bloomington-Normal is one step closer to getting its first recreational cannabis retailer.
Normal’s Zoning Board of Appeals unanimously voted Tuesday to recommend granting a special use permit for adult-use cannabis to The Green Solution, 501 W. Northtown Road. The application now goes before the Town Council for a vote on Monday.
Recreational cannabis use became legal in Illinois on Jan. 1, but currently the closest retailers are in Champaign-Urbana, Peoria and Springfield. The Green Solution operates Normal’s existing medical cannabis dispensary and has applied for a dual-use license from the state.
It remains unclear how quickly the business could begin selling recreational products if the town approves the permit.
“It’s definitely in the queue; it’s been reviewed by the state and they do need confirmation from us,” said Town Planner Mercy Davison.
During Tuesday’s hearing, board chair Todd Anderson raised questions about how The Green Solution will handle a wave of increased business when it does start selling recreational products. Davison said she’s satisfied the business will be ready for an initial spike in customers.
“We’re comfortable with their plan,” she said. “Frankly, you’ll have a business every now and again that opens to great fanfare and the first few days are kind of a circus. But over time it evens out. If that happens, we don’t expect it will be a problem for very long.”
The Green Solution's ownership status remains in flux, with the Denver-based cannabis company Jushi planning to buy the partnership that operates the Normal dispensary and another in Sauget, a St. Louis suburb.
Davison says the permit would remain in place following any ownership change.
“The special use permit is not tied to the owner, it’s tied to the property,” she said. “So, as long as whatever owner continues to do exactly what was approved, that’s fine.”
The Green Solution management team did not attend the meeting and has declined repeated requests for comment.
In other business, the ZBA denied requests for parking space variances on two plans for a possible student apartment complex in the 100 block of West Locust. A third plan for the development met the town’s code requirements.
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