A legal cannabis dispensary could be coming to Richmond soon, but a couple rounds of approval will be needed.
The village is slated to consider a zoning change on Aug. 22. If approved, the move would lay the groundwork for a dispensary to come back and request a special use permit to open up shop, Village President Toni Wardanian said.
The dispensary is being proposed by 280 E LLC, an apparent reference to the U.S. tax code that disallows deductions for trading in controlled substances.
According to the Illinois Secretary of State’s website, 280 E LLC is owned by Bryan Zises. He has been in ownership of other dispensaries in Chicago, Wardanian said. In its current form, the dispensary would just be recreational, and not medical.
“This isn’t like a fly-by night brand who doesn’t know what he’s doing,” Wardanian said. “This is a solid [business] who runs a tight, clean ship.”
The land is located near Swallow Ridge Drive and Route 12 and is partially zoned correctly for this kind of business, Wardanian said. Two of the three lots the business is looking at are zoned accordingly, with one, which is a pond, needing to be rezoned.
That area also is close to a subdivision, Wardanian said.
“That subdivision, there’s people in there that don’t want a dispensary at all,” she said. “But everyone will have the ability to voice their opinions ... on Aug. 22. I’m super interested to see who’s all going to show up [at the meeting].”
If the area is rezoned, the business will still need to come back to the village to request a special use permit before it can open, Wardanian said. If the business is able to get the necessary paperwork in order, that vote could come as soon as Sept. 1, which would be the first village board meeting after Aug. 22. If not, the next chance would be Sept. 15.
Originally when recreational cannabis was made legal in Illinois, Richmond made it so up to two dispensaries would be allowed in town, with each paying a 1.5% tax. At the village’s Aug. 4 meeting last week, trustees opted to change that. They voted to reduce the number of dispensary slots to one, with the one paying a 3% sales tax instead.
“One is plenty for a town of 2,000 people,” Wardanian said. “One dispensary collecting the same amount of tax dollars is a beautiful thing.”
Despite narrowing the amount of dispensaries that can open up in town, Wardanian said she thinks such a business will be a good addition to the village’s tax base.
“I’m not the morality police,” she said. “Someone says, ‘you’re pro this, you’re pro that,’ I’m pro-business. And if the business is legal why wouldn’t I be pro that?”
The meeting comes as many cannabis-based businesses in McHenry County are looking for a pathway to open up shop. While state licensing has caused a backlog, some in various villages are still pushing through.
Currently, there is one dispensary operating in McHenry County. RISE Dispensary, in Lake in the Hills, opened in 2021.