Naperville Liquor Commission Picking Winners And Losers

The same week the State of Illinois OK’d medical marijuana as an alternative to opioids, the Naperville Liquor Commission sent the owner of a small chain of stores that sell hemp products , through the gauntlet and then out of town, when he requested to open a store in Naperville.

If you want a license to sell liquor in Naperville, it’s no problem. Naperville’s motto should be “You want liquor, we’ve got the licenses”.  Simply get in line, pay the liquor license fee, and be on your way. There is no limit on the number of liquor licenses Naperville can issue. Every time somebody wants a liquor license, the Naperville city council raises the limit by one. Just as Rome was built one brick at a time, Naperville’s tax base gets built one liquor license at a time.

If you want to increase the number of servings a brewery can offer, no problem. Just pop-in to a Naperville Liquor Commission meeting, state your case as Solemn Oath Brewery did, get the approval, and be on your way. Who’s next in line?

In fairness to Solemn Oath Brewery, their case presented by President John Barley made sense. If for no other reason, with the name John Barley, that in itself should qualify for liquor license approval; almost as good as Benny Budweiser. In time Naperville could have a thousand liquor licenses, why not, all it takes is one license at a time.

However, the Naperville Liquor Commission draws a hard line against approving a cannabinoid store at Washington St. and Chicago Avenue. The problem is not the location, it’s the idea that anything involved with hemp must be bad. Not surprisingly, one liquor commissioner voting in favor of the store was Pamela Davis, retired President and CEO  of Edward Hospital. If anyone on the liquor commission would know the fallacies, safety, and usefulness of cannabinoids, including a natural source of reducing anxiety and pain, it would be the person in charge one of the best hospitals in the Midwest. However her vote was steam-rolled by the commission.

CBD has some benefit for two rare and severe seizure disorders. Additionally, other forms of CBD have shown preliminary evidence for some conditions including multiple sclerosis pain, psychotic symptoms in Parkinson’s, and anxiety. Though the findings are limited in studies, numerous personal accounts, though anecdotal in nature, are promising.

In essence the Naperville Liquor Commission is picking winners (liquor licenses) and losers (CBD providers) based on fear of the unknown (lack of knowledge) about the benefits of cannabinoids. As the owner (David Palatnik) of the chain of CBD stores stated, “we sell the same items as Menard’s,  Target, Walgreen and Walmart. I think it’s unfair to small business”.

There was a time, not that long ago, when Naperville was on the cutting edge of new ideas and concepts, however now, as evidenced by the liquor commission vote, a dinosaur mentality exists among city officials. Picking winners and losers is not part of their job description.

Show 2 Comments


  1. Gerard H Schilling

    The very last thing Naperville needs is a bunch of weed heads and weed stores competing with alcoholics and miscellaneous other crazies contaminating and making our city and streets less safe then they already are.

    The reckless nature of college kids (part of growing up) and their predisposition to get drunk and high and putting this kind of store a few hundred yards from them is insane.

    Although not illegal why would you entice people to partake of mind altering drugs or drinks. Our society has enough problems with people perceiving reality as it is without aiding and abetting the problem.

    Is it discriminatory? Yes! So what. We discriminate all the time on things like prayer in schools, confederate statues, gun right protests vs. 2ed amendment rights etc.

    I for one am happy then turned them down and would add; hope our city leaders continue to turn down sanctuary cities and gay rights parades.

  2. Jim Haselhorst

    Naperville has a marijuana dispensary. It was approved and opened shortly after the medical marijuana law was signed by the Governor. Does Naperville need a second dispensary? To answer that question you have to understand what is and is not legal in the State of Illinois.

    Marijuana can only be sold legally to persons that have a medical marijuana card by a dispensary that have been approved by the state, which can only sell marijuana grown in the state at a state license grow facility. The process to get this card is somewhat draconian in Illinois and starts with getting a doctor’s recommendation (from a doctor that is certified by the state and has an established relation with the patient or the practice/clinic they are a patient of). After that comes the long and slow process of state review. The point is the number of medical marijuana cards that have been issued is relatively small compared to the population of the state (around 30K in a state with a population of 12.8 million or less then 2/100th of a percent of the population).

    So does Naperville need another dispensary to serve less then 350 residents? Most medical offices have over 2000 active patients they serve or around 6 times the estimated number of Naperville residents with the card need to purchase marijuana from a dispensary. So, in my opinion, no we do not.

    This article does not mention the major reason given for not approving this business license. Some board members visited dispensary his person operates in other cities and describe them as looking more like head shops then a dispensary of medical products. I think most residents would agree a head shop is not a good fit for downtown Naperville.

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