News - Joliet and Will County

Cannabis company plans Jefferson Street dispensary in Joliet

Emerald Coast wants to open “Bloc” dispensary in old Bakers Square building

Joliet — Emerald Coast wants to open a cannabis dispensary at the old Bakers Square restaurant on Jefferson Street.

The company’s application for a special-use permit needed to operate a dispensary will go to the Joliet Zoning Board of Appeals for a hearing and recommendation on July 21 and then to the City Council for a vote.

Emerald Coast is an Illinois company that will partner with Justice Cannabis Co., which operates in several states, according to the permit application to the city.

The dispensary, if approved, would operate under the name Bloc, a brand name used by Justice Cannabis Co. in Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Utah, according to the company website. There are no Bloc stores in Illinois now, although they are coming soon, according to the website.

It would be the first cannabis dispensary on Jefferson Street, although a number have been looking.

City staff last year sought a reduction in the 250-foot setback distance required between a dispensary and residential property in Joliet after potential dispensaries looking at Jefferson Street locations found it too restrictive.

Much of the commercial property along Jefferson Street borders residential neighborhoods.

But the old Bakers Square at 2211 W. Jefferson St. is not one of them.

“There’s no spacing problem,” Planning Director Jim Torri said. “They meet all of our spacing requirements.”

The Bakers Square building is next to a new Basinger’s Pharmacy under construction on one side and a vacant strip mall on the other side. There is no residential property behind it.

The proposal faces at least one opponent on the City Council.

“I won’t be supporting this,” said council member Larry Hug, chairman of the Economic Development Committee.

Hug said he considers Illinois regulations for cannabis operations too restrictive for small entrepreneurs and questioned the value of a third dispensary in Joliet. There are two dispensaries now operating under the Rise brand.