City Council approves permit for cannabis dispensary and bakery


Graphic by Roxanne Panas

City Council approved a special use permit for a bakery and cannabis dispensary development in Evanston.

Kate Walter, Assistant City Editor

City Council voted unanimously Monday to approve special use permits for Evanston’s second cannabis dispensary and a bakery on Chicago Avenue in South Evanston.

The two independent businesses, OKAY Cannabis and West Town Bakery, will form a joint dispensary and bakery on the ground floor of the new Evanston Gateway apartment complex at 100 Chicago Ave. Although both businesses are owned by CESAM LLC and the dispensary can only be accessed through the bakery, they will operate separately, according to OKAY Cannabis co-founder Ameya Pawar.

The council’s decision came after the Land Use Commission recommended the approval of the joint bakery and dispensary in April. At Monday’s meeting, Ald. Devon Reid (8th) voiced his support for the project and said he believes the venture will be a “real user-friendly experience” compared to other dispensaries in the state.

According to a memo from Zoning Administrator Melissa Klotz, products sold at the bakery will not be infused with cannabis. The memo also said to sell food or drinks with cannabis, the city’s zoning ordinance would need to be modified to allow for on-site cannabis consumption at the bakery.

Pawar said individuals who want to enter the dispensary from the bakery must show an ID to prove they are older than 21. She said the Evanston project is modeled after a similar development between a West Town Bakery and OKAY Cannabis which opened in Wheeling, Illinois this February.

The new dispensary would be Evanston’s second, in addition to Zen Leaf on Maple Avenue. In 2019, the city approved a 3% sales tax on cannabis to fund the Restorative Housing Program as a part of its reparations program.

Related Stories:

A Joint Venture: Land Use Commission paves the way for bakery-dispensary to open in South Evanston
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Human Services Committee considers amending city ordinance to allow cannabis consumption lounges

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Twitter: @katewalter03