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McHenry City Council approves marijuana infuser facility

Future of the Leaf Infusers received permission from the McHenry City Council to rezone this building at 3900 Mercy Drive in McHenry, to open a marijuana infusion facility. The building, photographed on Friday, Feb. 4, 2022, is currently zoned for office use.

A marijuana infuser facility will be coming to McHenry after the proposal received the necessary approval in an unanimous vote by the McHenry City Council Monday night.

The use variation was requested by Chicago-based company, Future of the Leaf Infusers, which wants to open the marijuana infusion facility at 3900 Mercy Drive, according to city documents. The property was originally zoned for office space.

The one objection received by the city raised concerns about the infusion facility’s proximity to the Pebble Creek neighborhood, which sits behind it, Mayor Wayne Jett said.

No objections were raised during the McHenry County Planning and Zoning Commission meeting in January where it also received an unanimous recommendation. One resident had inquired about the smell the business could produce, City Planner Cody Sheriff told the commission.

He said the state has strict guidelines on odors, and those will be followed.

The facility also will have to follow the city’s rules around lighting and landscaping, Director of Community Development Ross Polerecky said Monday.

Future of the Leaf Infusers has the backing of state Sen. Patricia Van Pelt, who acted as an agent for Future of the Leaf Infusers at the public hearing. The business currently holds one of 28 licenses approved by the state though the license is contingent upon the kitchen’s approval, she said.

Future of the Leaf Infusers received permission from the McHenry City Council to rezone this building at 3900 Mercy Drive in McHenry, to open a marijuana infusion facility. The building, photographed on Friday, Feb. 4, 2022, is currently zoned for office use.

Van Pelt was not present at Monday’s meeting. Van Pelt was identified as an agent for the company in its application with the city and also spoke on the company’s behalf at the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting in January.

She told the Northwest Herald Friday that she was acting as a facilitator to help the company file the petition with the city and has no other affiliation with the business.

The products created at the marijuana infusion facility would be sold wholesale to dispensaries, the company’s representative said Monday. The hope is to sell to all of the dispensaries in Illinois, she said.

“We will have some exclusive products that only our infuser location will have,” she said.

Infusion is the process of placing the cannabis oil and infusing it into an edible products like brownies and candy.

“Dispensaries are selling pure products like the flower itself,” the company representative said. “These are products that are edibles for individuals to enjoy and so we’ll be doing the infusion process, which is actually baking it into the product.”

The change to light manufacturing from office space shouldn’t be a negative for the city, City Planner Cody Sheriff told the McHenry Planning and Zoning Committee last month, pointing to a change in workplace trends as more people work from home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The use variation allows for the commercial-use kitchen needed to make edibles.

The building will not have a loading dock but the entry will be secure, the company representative said. The state has requirements around security and the company will follow those.

The facility is basically a “large commercial kitchen,” Polerecky said. “Health department approvals are required. The state has rigorous requirements that they will have to follow for security, cameras, things of that nature. Anytime you’re dealing with cannabis, the state guidelines basically will supersede that we do or that the building department has. We’ll make sure obviously that all of that is followed.”