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A lounge for pot smokers is coming to the Okay Cannabis dispensary in Wheeling

A lounge for pot smokers is coming to the Okay Cannabis dispensary in Wheeling.

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A Wheeling cannabis dispensary has been given village permission to open the first recreational consumption lounge in Cook County.

Patrons of the proposed area at Okay Cannabis, 781 N. Milwaukee Ave., will have to follow a slew of rules before getting high there, however.

Perhaps most significantly, only customers will be able to smoke in the lounge, and they'll have to buy the pot they intend to smoke from the dispensary on the same day as their mandatory reservation.

That means people won't be allowed to bring weed from home, and edibles of any kind will be forbidden.

Patrons will be permitted to use only pipes or other smoking devices purchased at Okay Cannabis, too.

Additionally, reservations will be limited to 90 minutes, with an additional 30-minute cool-down period during which consumption won't be allowed. Alcoholic beverages will be forbidden, too.

And just like the entry rule for dispensaries across Illinois, lounge patrons will have to be at least 21 years old.

After a lengthy presentation from one of the Okay Cannabis owners, Wheeling's village board on Monday unanimously approved a special permit for the lounge.

Under state law, municipalities can allow on-site pot consumption at licensed dispensaries -- but few have. The only such consumption spot in the Chicago area is at Rise in Mundelein.

Okay Cannabis opened in early February in a building shared with West Town Bakery Cafe & Lounge. Both businesses are part of the Chicago-based Fifty/50 Group.

Fifty/50 Group President and co-founder Scott Weiner talked about his company's plans for the lounge and answered questions from board members Monday night. Okay Cannabis is on the north side of Wheeling's Restaurant Row, and Weiner called the lounge a unique opportunity for the largely commercial strip.

"There's a demand for it," he said.

The board also heard opinions from a few audience members about the proposal. Two supported it, with one saying he and his like-minded friends are looking forward to using the space.

A third person -- occasional governmental critic Deborah Wilson -- opposed the request, calling a cannabis lounge a "public safety risk" and a bad idea.


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