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Three Chicago med pot shops will have to wait to know if they can open

The owners of three would-be medical marijuana stores will have to wait before finding out if the city will let them open their shops, calling into question the fate of their state licenses.

A delay by the Chicago Zoning Board of Appeals has left the would-be store owners wondering if they can now meet a June 3 deadline to turn in final permitting applications to the state.

One proposed medical marijuana store on the Northwest Side saw its approval from the city stalled when Ald. Anthony Napolitano (41st) asked for more time to review the plan to open it in his ward, near hot dog stand Superdawg on Milwaukee Avenue.

“I don’t feel that my ward has had enough time to review this or to understand it,” said the new alderman, who was sworn in last week.

Joseph Gattuso, a lawyer for Union Group of Illinois LLC, which wants to open the Milwaukee Avenue store, told the board that delaying a zoning hearing until August “will kill us” and could potentially cost Union Group its coveted state license to sell medical marijuana.

Terry Horstman, a spokesman for the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, which manages dispensaries, said dispensary owners can’t get final state approval to open until they have approval from local officials.

“If an organization does not secure zoning approval, they may choose a different location within the district [they’re approved in] within a reasonable time,” Horstman said.

Also delayed until August is a hearing for a dispensary seeking to open near a West Ridge neighborhood park.

Far North Side Ald. Debra Silverstein (50th) doesn’t want a medical marijuana dispensary in that location because it’s close to a park that’s often filled with children.

The group, 420 Capital Management LLC, seeks to open the dispensary at 6501 N. Western Ave.

The zoning board did allow Modern Cannabis LLC which already had a city permit — to switch location from a Wicker Park storefront to a building in Logan Square at 2847 W. Fullerton.

But it delayed making a decision about a South Side marijuana dispensary. Harborside Illinois Grown Medicine wants to open a dispensary in Chatham at 1111 E. 87th St.

But the zoning board didn’t make a decision about that Thursday and will discuss the matter in June, according to Peter Strazzabosco, a spokesman, who did not immediately explain why the board continued the matter.

Harborside’s CEO, Les Hollis, declined to comment.

One of the figures connected to Harborside is a well-known California dispensary operator, Andrew DeAngelo. His Oakland dispensary — often described as the the largest marijuana store in the country — is embroiled in a battle with the U.S. Department of Justice, which in 2012 tried to seize the property leased to the dispensary, court records show.

The City of Oakland then fired back and sued the federal prosecutors to prevent the feds from shuttering the dispensary, records show. DeAngelo said his company is waiting for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to make a ruling.