A legal cannabis dispensary may soon be coming to Richmond, but it will take a few rounds of approval.
The village is expected to consider a zoning change on August 22. If approved, the move would lay the groundwork for a dispensary to return and apply for a special use permit to open a store, village chairman Toni Wardanian said.
The dispensary is offered by 280 E LLC, an apparent reference to the US tax code that prohibits deductions for trading in controlled substances.
According to the Illinois Secretary of State website, 280 E LLC is owned by Bryan Zises. He owned other dispensaries in Chicago, Wardanian said. In its current form, the dispensary would be purely recreational, not medical.
“It’s not like an overnight brand that doesn’t know what it’s doing,” Wardanian said. “It’s a solid [business] who runs a tight and clean ship.
The land is located near Swallow Ridge Drive and Route 12 and is partially zoned properly for this type of business, Wardanian said. Two of the three lots the company is considering are zoned accordingly, one of which, which is a pond, is to be rezoned.
This area is also close to a subdivision, Wardanian said.
“That subdivision, there are people in there who don’t want a dispensary at all,” she said. “But everyone will have the opportunity to express their opinions… on August 22. I’m super interested to see who all will show up [at the meeting].”
If the area is rezoned, the business will still have to come back to the village to apply for a special use permit before it can open, Wardanian said. If the company is able to get the necessary paperwork in order, that vote could take place as early as September 1, which would be the village’s first board meeting after August 22. Otherwise, the next chance would be September 15.
Originally, when recreational cannabis was made legal in Illinois, Richmond arranged for up to two dispensaries to be licensed in town, each paying a 1.5% tax. At the August 4 village meeting last week, the trustees chose to change that. They voted to reduce the number of dispensary slots to one, which instead pays 3% sales tax.
“One is a lot for a town of 2,000 people,” Wardanian said. “A dispensary collecting the same amount of tax dollars is a beautiful thing.”
Despite the reduction in the number of dispensaries that can open in town, Wardanian said she thinks such a business would be a good addition to the village’s tax base.
“I’m not the morality police,” she said. “Somebody says, ‘you’re pro this, you’re pro that’, I’m pro-business. And if the business is legal, why wouldn’t I be for that?”
The meeting comes as many cannabis-based businesses in McHenry County are looking for an avenue to set up shop. While state licenses have caused a backlog, some in various villages are still pushing things forward.
Currently, there is one operating dispensary in McHenry County. The RISE clinic, in Lake in the Hills, opened in 2021.