A marijuana business might be coming to Woodstock sooner rather than later, but City Council members still have questions.
The Woodstock City Council was set Tuesday evening to consider amending a special-use permit that would allow for a marijuana-based business to open in town, but a vote on the measure was pushed back after council members raised concerns.
If ultimately approved, the amendment would allow the business, Six Labs Inc., to begin working at the site as just an infusion and transportation business while its owners wait for a craft growing license from the state. The change would be temporary, expiring after two years.
Lance Shalzi, the representative for Six Labs, said Tuesday at the meeting the business expects its craft-growing license sometime in 2023. If it is not approved by the state, the business would resort to buying a license, which Shalzi said could cost to the tune of “millions” of dollars.
“They’re for real, my client,” Shalzi said at the meeting.
Council members voiced concerns at the meeting about security, the facility’s aesthetics and pending renovations to the site, which would be located at the previous Golf and Games miniature golf location off Route 47 north of Route 14.
The requested amendment calls for storage trailers to be used, but several council members Tuesday, including Mayor Mike Turner, said they were worried about how it would look since the business is located on a major road.
This led Shalzi to say he wasn’t sure the trailers would be totally necessary and he would check with his client on if they want them.
Questions about the potential odor from the business were also raised, but staff told the Northwest Herald ahead of Tuesday’s meeting that they didn’t think it would be a large concern going forward.
“If you sense caution, it’s not on lack of appreciation of the work you’ve done or the interest in having this business here,” Turner said at the meeting. “But it is a caution on the part of making sure … we are taking the right steps and for the right reasons.”
Council member Wendy Piersall said she was not supportive of this business back in 2020 because she felt the security plan was lacking.
Shalzi said the security plan, much of it based on state requirements, calls for key-coded areas and doors, cameras and windows with alarms. The whole site would be “monitored,” he said.
“I was really not impressed. I just felt like [security] was inadequate,” Piersall said at the meeting.
One resident, Arlene Lynes, who owns the bookstore Read Between the Lynes, said she thought the city taking a cautious approach was correct, citing concerns with the aesthetic and how it could affect surrounding businesses.
“There’s a lot of investment in that section [of town],” Lynes told the City Council. “I just request that you take this carefully.”
The Woodstock City Council approved a special-use permit in 2020 that was dependent upon the business obtaining the necessary licenses from the state. The original plan called for a new building to be erected for the craft-growing operation, while the current building at the site would be used for offices and potentially a dispensary in the future.
The amendment would allow Six Labs to begin working out of the current structure already in place. Shalzi said it wasn’t feasible to construct the new site at this time because the business did not have the craft-growing license, but said the business would like to get started on the aspects of the business it does have state approval for.
Six Labs is a business with marijuana products in multiple stores, almost exclusively in Michigan. The company has a similar business in Michigan related to craft-growing, infusion and transportation, which has had no issues with break-ins or security, Shalzi said.
The permit for Six Labs was one of three that was issued in 2020 by the Woodstock City Council, which all called for the same type of business.
The other two businesses are also waiting for craft-growing licenses, Building and Zoning Director Joe Napolitano said. However, since they would set up on vacant lots, they do not have the option to start work earlier.
While recreational marijuana has been legal in Illinois for more than two years, it’s only been in recent months that the industry has begun budding in McHenry County.
In February, the McHenry City Council gave the go-ahead on an infuser facility, while Crystal Lake has since approved two dispensaries in town. RISE Lake in the Hills was the county’s first dispensary, opening in March 2021.