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Oak Park-based firm wins Evanston medical pot license

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Oak Park-based Pharmacann, LLC has won a license from the state to open a medical marijuana dispensary that could be located in Evanston.

Pharmacann, which reportedly raised $20 million in a funding round last fall, was one of 15 applicants for the license to serve Evanston and Niles Township.

Gov. Bruce Rauner Monday also awarded Pharmacann licenses to operate a medical marijuana cultivation site in Dewitt, Livingston or McLean county and dispensary locations in three other areas around the state, including one in either Elk Grove or Schaumburg township.

In making an appeal to local officials to support a cultivation site in Ottawa, Ill., that was not awarded by the governor, Pharmacann co-founder Norah Scott said she was inspired to start the business in part because of suffering her father went through after undergoing spinal surgery.

Evanston aldermen last August designated a long-vacant retail space in the city's Maple Avenue parking garage as a potential site for a medical marijuana dispensary and offered assurance to each of the would-be state licensees that the city was willing to negotiate a lease with them for the space, if they were approved for the state license.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz this morning said Pharmacann officials were in contact with the city last week about possibly moving forward with leasing the space.

Paul Zalmezak of the city's economic development staff says Pharmacann — and most of the other applicants for this area's license — said in their state license applications that they intended to use the parking garage space at 1800 Maple Ave.

Zalmezak said he hopes to be able to hammer out details of the lease with Pharmacann representatives soon.

He said he doesn't know much about the background of the company's leaders yet.

"When we put this process together, we said we'd leave it to the experts at the state to make the best choice of a licensee," Zalmezak said, "We're hoping their due diligence will pay off and we'll have a quality operator here."

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