sign on the front of the planned Erth Dispensary has
been changed, removing the planned date for the opening
to a hopeful “Coming soon.”
Photo by Art Dahlke
CEDARBURG — Plans for a second
location for Erth Dispensary, a store selling cannabinoid products,
have hit a bit of a snag.
Though the city has issued an occupancy permit for the business at
W61 N510 Washington Ave., the intended business use is not part of
the existing city code and thus is not permitted to operate in the
“While some municipalities are pretty flexible in their zoning
codes, in this zoning district, Cedarburg lists specific permitted
uses and only those types of uses listed can operate,” said City
Planner Jon Censky. “Some uses can also be added by receiving a
conditional use permit.”
The hurdle in this particular situation appears to be how Jennifer
Kawczynski was directed when she first contacted the city about her
family’s plans to open downtown. Instead of being directed to Censky,
Kawczynski talked to the city building inspector, and that is how
the permit was issued.
“The problem is that all new business applications go through me for
review,” said Censky. “Had I seen an application, this is
information I would have told her right away.”
For her part, Kawczynski said she’s a bit perplexed by the
“We received the occupancy permit and we’ve been making renovations to the
space,” she said. “I don’t understand why this is happening now, but
we are absolutely willing to go through this process. We want people
to know that we are good neighbors and we are absolutely willing to
do what we need to do. We have family members who now live in the
community (above the store). This is a community we want to become a
Kawczynski explained that her family has already reached out to
community groups to get involved in the greater Cedarburg area,
including setting up a sponsorship and securing space to sell at
Cedarburg festivals. She said the family envisions being an active
part and supporter of the greater Cedarburg community, much as they
are in Bay View, where their original location is.
“We know that part of our role in the community is education,” she
said, noting that she understands the concern that some residents
may have about her family’s business. Erth Dispensary sells products
made from hemp, which is a plant in the Cannibis family, along with
marijuana, though the two have some very distinct – and legal –
Marijuana contains tetrahydrocannabinol, the compound that produces
psychoactive effects, and remains illegal in Wisconsin. The amount
of THC in hemp is low, 0.03 percent or less, and the amount of CBD
is high, thus users don’t get any sort of euphoria or high from
consuming it, but rather tout its therapeutic effects. It is legal
to sell and possess CBD-based products in Wisconsin.
“We are very big on education and try to have enough staff in the
store to give everyone a one-on-one experience,” said Kawczynski in
an earlier interview. “Marijuana is high in THC and low in CBD; hemp
is high in CBD and very low or has nonexistent levels of THC.”
She also noted that since plans for the store were announced, her
family has received a “tremendous” outpouring of support from the
greater Cedarburg community. “It’s been just amazing, and if I start
thinking about it, I will tear up,” she said. “It’s not just
customers but businesses who have contacted us about possibly doing
However, support has not been universal. Censky noted that the city
did receive a complaint about the business’ first “coming soon”
signs, which included a marijuana-like leaf in the design.
“We immediately responded to that – we’re a family-based business
and we can understand if someone has a concern of some sort – and we
took that down and changed the sign,” said Kawczynski.
It is still possible for Erth Dispensary to receive approval to open
in Cedarburg, but it will require a municipal process. What is for
sure is that the store will miss its intended April 20 opening.
“What we need Jennifer to do is submit an application for review,”
said Censky on Friday. “At that point, it will be put on a Plan
Commission meeting agenda.”
The Plan Commission will then decide whether or not to recommend a
zoning change that will allow CBD dispensaries as a permitted use in
that zoning district. With an application filed, this would likely
be on the May meeting agenda.
“At that point, should the Plan Commission make a recommendation, it
would then go to the Common Council,” said Censky.
From there, a public hearing would be scheduled, and the Common
Council could bring it to a vote. This has to happen in sequence, so
depending on the May Common Council schedule – Censky was unsure if
there would be a meeting due to the Memorial Day holiday on Monday –
it could be on the Common Council agenda in May or June.
“We just want people to know that we plan to do whatever we need to
do and that, while there is an unexpected delay, we are still
planning to move forward and just be patient,” said Kawczynski.
Both the Plan Commission and Common Council meetings are open to the
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