Suburbs’ first hashish lounge will get the thumbs-up to open in Mundelein

A Mundelein cannabis dispensary has received permission to open the suburb’s first cannabis lounge.

The village board unanimously approved a request from Rise, 1325 Armor Blvd., on Monday to operate an appointment-only room where customers can take newly purchased products.

The lounge will be located in an adjacent building at 1570 Baskin Road, which is also owned by Rise’s parent company, Green Thumb Industries of Chicago. A hallway will connect the two buildings.

An opening date was not announced.

State law that legalized the sale of cannabis for recreational purposes from January 2020 also allowed cities to authorize use of the drug in pharmacies and tobacco shops. However, only a few are open.

As part of its new agreement with Mundelein, Rise Lounge customers will only consume cannabis flowers, beverages and concentrates that were purchased in-store. Edibles are banned because it’s easier to accidentally over-consume, officials said.

Alcohol is also banned.

Just like bar staff serving alcohol, lounge staff are trained to prevent excessive cannabis use by guests.

Once the lounge is open, Mundelein police won’t be waiting nearby to overtake customers who have attended inside, said village administrator Eric Guenther.

“Our officers neither have the time nor the inclination to sit down and wait for people to leave in the hope that they will catch a drunk driver,” Günther said in an email. “We just don’t do that, just like we don’t sit in front of bars and wait for people to leave.”

Two listeners – both executives from companies in the industrial park where Rise operates – spoke out against the lounge proposal during the public comment of the session on Monday. They raised concerns about car and pedestrian safety in the industrial park, as well as Rise’s customers who park on their properties.

One, Joe Kane of Strausak Inc. and Rollomatic, brought up a petition that he said had been signed by representatives from 18 regional companies. He also questioned the bureaucratic process for approving the lounge.

Later in the session, Mayor Steve Lentz spoke favorably of the security measures Rise is planning. Nevertheless, he urged the critics to turn to the town hall in the event of “significant” problems in the neighborhood.

Trustee Tim Wilson said he hoped the parking-related concerns could be addressed.