The former Rainforest Cafe in Chicago once featured a costumed frog named Cha Cha selling beef lava nachos. Plans now call for a new business on the site to instead have budtenders serving marijuana with names such as Bionic Cheetah and Hood Candyz.
But for the second time, the transition of the abandoned restaurant at 605 N. Clark St. into a cannabis store has run into problems — despite an about-face from state regulators who once rejected the proposal.
The holdup comes from one resident fighting against what he characterizes as an improper partnership in which social equity cannabis license holder Bio-Pharm LLC, is acting as a front for an established multistate company, Progressive Treatment Solutions, or PTS. In the meantime, no work has been done on the site, and the original plans to open this year have gone by the wayside.
The delay reflects uncertainty over the deal caused by Robert Brown, who lives in the River North neighborhood that he says has become the city’s unofficial weed district, with four pot shops already operating within a few blocks of each other.
While Brown has argued that the partnership is invalid, his legal argument rests on a narrow procedural problem that he says