More Chicago MMJ Businesses Get Local Approval

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The Windy City is well on its way toward exhaling legal cannabis smoke.

On Friday, a medical marijuana farm and six dispensaries were granted initial approval by Chicago’s Zoning Board of Appeals. The board can approve up to 13 dispensaries for the city, but just one cultivator. Last month, three would-be dispensaries won special use permits from the board.

The farm and one of the dispensaries, both called Custom Strains, are owned by longtime Chicago businessman Perry Mandera, who runs a trucking company and a strip club.

He told the board on Friday that he’s recruited experienced cannabis professionals from Colorado and Michigan to help run both the grow operation – to be located on the south side of the city -and his dispensary, which will be in the West Loop part of downtown.

If the state signs off on the Zoning Board’s approval, Mandera plans to build a facility capable of producing 4,500 pounds of MMJ a year, along with a processing setup to allow his company to produce marijuana-infused edibles and topicals as well. Thus far, Mandera’s invested $10 million in the grow operation, he told the board.