ST. CHARLES – Zen Leaf has been given the green light to sell recreational marijuana at its dispensary at 3714 Illinois Ave.
At their meeting Monday, aldermen voted 6-4 to add recreational marijuana dispensaries as a special use in the M-2 limited manufacturing district. They also voted 6-4 to give Healthway Services of West Illinois, LLC. – which operates Zen Leaf – special use approval to operate a recreational marijuana dispensary at its current location.
Voting “no” in both cases were First Ward Alderman Ronald Silkaitis, Second Ward Alderman Arthur Lemke, Second Ward Alderman Rita Anne Payleitner and 5th Ward Alderman Maureen Lewis.
Zen Leaf is the city’s only medical marijuana dispensary and has been in operation since 2015. Aldermen approved Zen Leaf’s plans with several conditions, including that it install additional security cameras, update its parking lot lighting and install additional signs stating that onsite consumption is prohibited.
The special use approval given by the City Council will expire at the end of 18 months. Zen Leaf officials had been proposing a 24-month limitation on the special use, noting that Zen Leaf is committed to relocating to a BC/BR district when allowed by the state.
Prior to voting against giving special use approval to Zen Leaf, Silkaitis voiced concerns about making changes to the city’s zoning code in light of a proposed state bill that would allow marijuana dispensaries to relocate from their current location.
“Why can’t you just wait until the state changes the law?” he asked.
Anthony Marsico, executive vice president for retail for Zen Leaf, said the company would like to open as soon as possible. And given the current pandemic, Marsico said he didn’t know when the legislature would pass such a bill.
“This is definitely a benefit for St. Charles as far as tax revenues,” he said.
Last year, aldermen voted to allow two recreational marijuana dispensaries to open in the city – one on the east side and one on the west side of the Fox River.