A facility at 7550 Industrial Dr. in Forest Park that could be the home of a cannabis cultivation plant owned by Mint IL LLC. | File
Three cannabis-related businesses have received state licenses to operate in Forest Park and Mayor Rory Hoskins said recently that another entity is interested in opening a dispensary in the village.
Karuna Ventures received a state cannabis infuser license in 2021, allowing it to extract oil from cannabis plants, put that oil in products such as edibles and electric vapor pens, package the products and distribute them to dispensaries.
Karuna is currently waiting on the Forest Park village council to approve a special use permit. The village’s Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously on May 16 to recommend that the village council approve the permit for Karuna to operate on the site of a warehouse at 1401 Circle Drive.
Hoskins said that he’s comfortable with Karuna’s proposal, adding that the company has “stated that they want to hire Forest Park residents and that they want to be part of our small business community.”
In addition to Karuna, Mint IL LLC has secured a state license to open a cannabis cultivation plant at 7550 Industrial Dr. and Alliance Transport Group secured a license to operate a cannabis transportation business out of a warehouse building at 1800 Desplaines Ave.
Karuna Ventures and Alliance Transport Group didn’t respond to calls and emails seeking comment by deadline.
Mint co-owner Omar Fakhouri stated that his company plans to grow cannabis not just for their planned dispensary in neighboring Riverside, but for any interested dispensaries throughout the region.
He said they hope to have the plant up and running within the next four to five months, but acknowledged that supply chain issues could delay the opening. Fackhouri stressed that no cannabis will be sold at his company’s Forest Park cultivation facility.
Fakhouri said they wanted to locate in Forest Park because it’s close to Chicago, which will help attract customers and employees. He also liked his company’s interactions with village officials.
“They were open to the idea,” Fakhouri said, referencing Forest Park officials. “It just worked out well, to be able to get something going and going quicker in Forest Park. [We were] just happy with our conversations with the village [and] really liked the community.”
A warehouse at 1401 Circle Drive in Forest Park, where Karuna Ventures wants to operate a cannabis infuser facility. | File
Fakhouri said he attended Hoskins’ May 25 re-election campaign kick-off. Hoskins said in an email on July 5 that he has had no conversations with Alliance Transport.
Under state cannabis regulations, craft growers are only allowed to have 5,000 square feet of growing space during the first year. After that, the company will have the option of adding 3,000 square feet a year before maxing out at 14,000 square feet.
“I think, as we’re able to expand, per state rules, we will continue to need more people,” he said. “I think, initially, I anticipate having 25 employees, and as we go up, we’ll go up.”
With the recent boon in cannabis-related business activity, Forest Park joins Broadview, Melrose Park and Westchester on the list of Proviso Township suburbs with either completed or proposed cannabis businesses. Forest Park and Broadview are the only suburbs that are poised to attract both cannabis dispensaries and cannabis cultivators.
Late last month, the Broadview village board voted unanimously to grant a special use to Viola Brands for the operation of a cannabis dispensary at 1516 W. Roosevelt Rd. in Broadview. And last year, Helios Labs, a licensed craft grower, announced that they plan on building a $14 million production facility in Broadview at a warehouse at 2150 Parkes Dr. in Broadview.
Michael Romain contributed to this report.