This Sunnyside cannabis dispensary concept rendering is similiar to what the Danville dispensary will look like.

DANVILLE – The recreational cannabis law in Illinois goes into effect Jan. 1, but the first cannabis dispensary in the city won’t be open that soon.

Jason Erkes, Cresco Labs chief communications officer, said the dispensary could open in late January or February, and most likely by March, depending on construction.

The Danville City Council by a 9-2 vote Tuesday approved a special-use permit for a medicinal/adult-use cannabis dispensing organization to be located at the former Border Café and Big Boy Restaurant at 369 Lynch Drive in the B3-general business zoned district.

Petitioner Phoenix Farms of Illinois is owned by Cresco Labs with headquarters in Chicago.

Ward 1 Alderwoman Brenda Brown and Ward 3 Alderman R.J. Davis voting against the permit, with alderwomen Sherry Pickering absent due to a family emergency and Sharon McMahon absent due to work. There is one vacancy on the city council with Ward 6 Alderman Steve Nichols’ resignation.

The council also voted 9-2 to amend the city’s zoning ordinance and map for adult-use and medicinal cannabis.

Definitions and district-use regulations relating to a medicinal and adult-use cannabis business are now included in the Danville Zoning Ordinance.

Danville Senior Planner Tyson Terhune said the intent of the ordinance restrictions was to not allow a cannabis facility within a half mile of a residential-zoned area.

With the restrictions, including being away from schools, the Lynch Road industrial area is the only location in Danville a cannabis facility could be located.

There were no comments from aldermen on the petition or zoning ordinance change.

Kerry Barrett, one of the property owners, told the council before its vote that they began this process in July, and think it’s a convenient spot away from churches, schools and residents.

He also said hotels in Colorado have seen business increase with nearby dispensaries.

Cresco Labs, owner of Phoenix Farms of Illinois which would be doing business as Sunnyside, intends to begin selling cannabis, cannabis-infused products including edibles, paraphernalia and related items to eligible purchasers early next year. Proposed dispensary hours are 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week, with Sabrina Noah, senior vice president of public affairs with Cresco Labs, noting the hours are less than what’s allowed by the state.

“We are securing the property right now with the owner of the property,” Erkes said.

Once that is done, they will be waiting for final approval from the state for that location, “which really shouldn’t be an obstacle,” he said.

After final state approval, construction could likely begin by mid-December, according to Erkes.

They will be renovating the entire building to the Sunnyside retail concept. The dual-use dispensary will employ 30 people.

“We are looking forward to beginning construction on our dispensary just off I-74 on Lynch Road which will focus on wellness and cannabis education for the entire community,” Erkes said.

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