Dispensary awaits license to sell cannabis in Junction Center

A+dispensary+company%2C+NuEra+has+been+leasing+the+location+in+Junction+Center+that+was+formerly+Book+World.+DeKalb+is+expected+to+get+two+dispensaries.+

Brionna Belcher

A dispensary company, NuEra has been leasing the location in Junction Center that was formerly Book World. DeKalb is expected to get two dispensaries.

DeKALB – By the end of the year, DeKalb will have a cannabis dispensary of its very own. NuEra, an Illinois-based dispensary company with six locations, has been leasing a location in the Junction Center and is awaiting its license to sell cannabis. 

NuEra, previously known as NuMed, has been leasing a location in The Junction Shopping Center, said Richard Finn, the manager of The Junction Shopping Center. The location, Site 7 818 W Lincoln Highway, used to house a Book World store until its closure in 2017. The site has been empty ever since. 

NuEra currently has six locations in Aurora, Champaign, Chicago, East Peoria, Pekin and Urbana, according to the company’s website

NuEra’s DeKalb location is expected to be fully operational by the end of the year, City Manager Bill Nicklas said. Nicklas estimates that, if fully operational for one year, a dispensary could generate $250,000 to $400,000 in sales tax revenue for DeKalb. 

“We’re ready when the businesses are ready,” Nicklas said. 

However, a dispensary license hasn’t been awarded to NuMed due to an ongoing lawsuit, which has stalled cannabis businesses from obtaining licenses. 

The lawsuit was filed by Juan Finch Jr. and Mark Toigo on March 22 against Maio Treto Jr., Secretary of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. The suit claims that the practices of the DFPR “unconstitutionally discriminated against Plaintiffs on the basis of their out-of-state residency in violation of the dormant Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution,” according to the plaintiffs’ Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief.

Nicklas said the lawsuit is expected to be resolved by July.

While the lawsuit has been blocking new businesses from opening up, there has been little to no resistance to the incoming dispensary on the legislative level, Nicklas said. He attributes this to the state legislature becoming more supportive of cannabis and the careful regulation each store must be subjected to. 

“They’re more regulated than drug stores,” Nicklas said. “They require security, you can’t smoke on sight, they can only distribute small quantities.”

Currently, Illinois is divided into different zones with each zone being allowed a certain number of dispensaries by the DFPR. DeKalb is located in a zone that is 10 counties big and only allowed three dispensaries.

“We will have one or two,” Nicklas said. “I don’t see the city getting all three.”