City Council authorizes medical marijuana dispensary lease, establishes tax on cultivation center

City Council honored Ald. Coleen Burrus (9th), who is stepping down this month to take a position at Princeton University. Council also approved to lease the space at 1804 Maple Ave. to Pharmacann LLC to open a medical marijuana dispensary.

Michelle Kim/The Daily Northwestern

City Council honored Ald. Coleen Burrus (9th), who is stepping down this month to take a position at Princeton University. Council also approved to lease the space at 1804 Maple Ave. to Pharmacann LLC to open a medical marijuana dispensary.

Michelle Kim, Reporter

City Council on Monday approved a lease for city-owned property to house a medical marijuana dispensary.

Aldermen unanimously approved for Pharmacann LLC to lease the storefront at 1804 Maple Ave. More than 20 dispensaries applied to open in Evanston last September, and Pharmacann’s application was approved in February of this year after being the highest-scoring application in the region, Teddy Scott, Pharmacann’s CEO, told The Daily in February.

Gov. Bruce Rauner on Feb. 2 awarded Pharmacann a license to open a medical marijuana dispensary in Illinois.

The dispensary could come to Evanston by the end of the year, city manager Wally Bobkiewicz told The Daily in February.

Pharmacann will be the only dispensary in the region that includes Evanston and Niles Township. Due to state law, only one dispensary is allowed in the area. Only 60 dispensaries are allowed throughout the state.

Teddy Scott, Pharmacann’s CEO, told The Daily in February he thought Evanston was a good fit for the dispensary because of the city’s progressive nature.

“There’s a long history of negative connotations with cannabis that we’ve all grown up with,” he said. “Evanston, we believe, is one of those places that is on the progressive side of things and more open-minded and able to recognize the benefits of this as a viable treatment for people that are in dire need of help.”

Aldermen on Monday also approved a 6-percent tax on the profits that cultivation centers make on cannabis sales to dispensaries.

Last year, Illinois enacted a law to allow cities to tax the cultivation of medical cannabis.

Aldermen also unanimously voted to authorize the distribution of affordable housing funds to a local nonprofit that will use the money to purchase and rehabilitate units in the downtown Evanston area.

Some aldermen voiced concerns about how the $400,000, which will be donated by the developers of a residential building at 1571 Maple Ave., would be administered.

“This is an extraordinary agreement that we have reached with the developer,” Ald. Ann Rainey (8th) said. “I am very concerned about turning this money to a not-for-profit to administer and rehab units in the downtown district.”

Ald. Judy Fiske (1st) agreed with Rainey and said it was a hard decision because the specific non-profit has not yet been chosen.

“It’s very difficult when the not-for-profit isn’t named,” Fiske said. “Asking us to vote on this is difficult.”

The resolution passed, but Ald. Delores Holmes (5th) suggested the city staff talk to the housing commission about how to proceed.

City Council also bid farewell to Ald. Coleen Burrus (9th), who is stepping down as alderman to take a position at Princeton University.

Burrus thanked residents of her ward for allowing her during her time in office to prioritize fiscal responsibility, economic development, public safety and delivering municipal services.

“I’m most grateful to the 9th Ward residents that embraced my common-sense direct approach because I realized my style is not for everyone,” Burrus said. “But the 9th Ward residents got it, and I will always be thankful for that.”

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