Developer proposes adult-use cannabis dispensary in East Dubuque

The planned location for a new cannabis dispensary in East Dubuque, Ill. Dan Dolan, owner of The Dispensary Fulton (Ill.) has announced to East Dubuque City Council his intentions to open an adult-use cannabis dispensary at the location in April. PHOTO CREDIT: Dave Kettering

EAST DUBUQUE, Ill. — An Illinois developer has proposed opening an adult-use cannabis dispensary in East Dubuque as early as April, with plans of creating additional commercial attractions in the future.

Dan Dolan, owner of The Fulton Dispensary in Fulton, Ill., which sells medical marijuana, presented his plan to East Dubuque City Council members on Monday to soon begin the process of developing an adult-use cannabis dispensary in the strip-mall building located on Illinois Route 35, near Thumser’s 19th Hole.

Dolan, who opened The Fulton Dispensary in 2016, said he has been approved by the state for a same-site adult-use cannabis license for his Fulton facility, along with a secondary site adult-use cannabis license, which he intends to utilize in East Dubuque.

In order to comply with deadlines imposed by the state, Dolan said he intends to have the building renovated and given state approval over the next two months to pave the way for opening the business by April 1. He eventually hopes to expand the facility in the future.

“It’s going to move very fast,” Dolan said.

Speaking with City Council members, Dolan also shared his plans for a larger development plan to construct additional buildings around the dispensary to pave the way for future commercial businesses that would further promote tourism in East Dubuque. While no businesses have been officially proposed, Dolan said the additional development could include restaurants, retail businesses and lodging.

“I believe we can turn the location into its own destination” Dolan said. “I want to make it a regional attraction.”

However, in order to justify the investment, Dolan also requested East Dubuque City Council amend its current adult-use cannabis ordinance to give him exclusive rights to sell adult-use cannabis in East Dubuque.

In response, City Council members directed City Manager Loras Herrig on Monday to draft an amendment to the ordinance that would expand the distance in which adult-use cannabis businesses must be separated from 1,500 feet to 15,000 square feet.

“That would effectively cover most of the city,” Herrig said.

East Dubuque City Council members expressed their enthusiasm for the project.

“I’m 100% in support of this,” said City Council Member Adam Arling. “I think it’s great.”

Mayor Kirk VanOstrand said he believes the project’s location on the state highway will allow the city to better maintain the influx of traffic brought by the cannabis dispensary.

“We had concerns about opening something like this downtown because of the traffic,” VanOstrand said. “I think using the highway instead is the best way to go.”

Herrig estimated the dispensary could create an estimated $250,000 in annual revenue for the city.

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