Joliet rejects cannabis store 2nd time

Council member Clement points to police calls at two other Joliet dispensaries

The former Bakers Square restaurant at 2211 W. Jefferson St. in Joliet is surrounded by a chain link fence on Monday, June 5. Emerald Coast has proposed converting the property to a cannabis dispensary.

A plan for a cannabis dispensary at the former Bakers Square restaurant in Joliet was turned down Tuesday.

It was the second attempt in less than a year by Emerald Coast to get a special use permit for cannabis at the former restaurant at 2211 Jefferson St.

“I think it’s not the right place for this,” council member Jan Quillman said as she made a motion to deny the permit at the City Council meeting on Tuesday.

The council voted 7-2 to turn down the permit. Council members Cesar Guerrero and Suzanna Ibarra voted against the motion to deny the permit for the store.

I think it’s not the right place for this.

—  Jan Quillman, Joliet City Council member

Council member Joe Clement, a retired Joliet police officer, before the vote said he had requested a report from police on the number of calls to the city’s two cannabis dispensaries now in business.

The report, he said, showed 91 calls in the last two years at the Rise dispensary on Colorado Avenue and 52 calls in two years at the Rise dispensary on Rock Creek Boulevard.

“For me as an ex-police officer, we deal with this sort of thing, I think those are kind of high,” Clement said.

The matter was discussed at a Monday workshop meeting when Quillman said there was residential opposition to the cannabis dispensary at the Jefferson Street location. Council member Larry Hug called the state’s cannabis policy “a farce” and said the business is dominated by big-money operators.

The matter came to the council in August with a recommendation for approval from the Zoning Board of Appeals. At that time, there was not enough support to bring the matter to a vote.

This time city staff recommended approval, but there still was little support.

According to a city staff report, Emerald Coast expected sales of between $12 million and $20 million a year, and Joliet would collect 3% of that money in sales tax.

Staff said that the net sales tax impact for the city, however, was difficult to predict “since we don’t know if the sales projections are new customers or the same customers purchasing from the other two cannabis stores in Joliet.”

Emerald Coast planned to employ about 20 people with average annual salary at $60,000, according to the staff report.