The first recreational cannabis dispensary in Round Lake Beach is planned to open in the spring, after approval this week by village officials.
VISE Partners LLC received a special-use permit to open a shop called Altius in a former mattress store and original Blockbuster location at 993 E. Rollins Road, an outlot in the Rollins Crossing shopping center just east of Route 83.
This will be the first cannabis venture for Huntley-based VISE Partners, which plans to seek approvals elsewhere to become a seed-to-store operation.
Altius is a Latin word and part of the Olympic motto, ‘Citius, Altius, Fortius’ (Faster. Higher. Stronger), explained Jeff Gasner, VISE’s president/CEO.
“That’s one of our goals — to deliver a higher customer experience,” Gasner said. The idea is to get away from the feel of the original medical marijuana-only dispensaries, he added.
Recreational use among those 21 and older became legal in Illinois Jan. 1, 2020.
Communities were allowed to ban or regulate cannabis-related businesses. In September 2019, Round Lake Beach officials approved sales in the village. VISE was the first to request approval for a dispensary.
The village requires marijuana shops be at least 250 feet from schools and other designated properties. Owners must obtain a special-use permit, which comes with a higher measure of review from village officials.
“There was absolutely no controversy on the board over it or in the community,” said Mayor Scott Nickles. “The laws are pretty strict where they can go.”
According to the approval, VISE must file a lighting plan and install video surveillance and other systems to conform with a police-approved security plan. Consumption of cannabis on premises is prohibited.
Gasner said the company began looking for locations last summer. Rollins Crossing is in a busy commercial area, and traffic studies showed it would be a good location, he said.
“This is going to (have) better curb appeal than a lot of other dispensaries,” he added.
The mid-70s era Rollins Crossing is undergoing a rebirth.
Tony’s Finer Foods Enterprise Inc. bought and overhauled the entire center, opened a new grocery store in the anchor spot and is seeking tenants for other spaces.
VISE will apply for construction permits to remake the 4,800-square-foot outlot building and plans to open in May or June, Gasner said.
VISE stands for Vertically Integrated Solutions Enterprise, Gasner said. The company has land in Woodstock and plans to apply to the state for a craft license to cultivate, dry, cure and package cannabis, he added.