November 26, 2013

Zoning Regulations Proposed For Medical Marijuana Dispensaries, Cultivation Centers

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The City of Chicago would impose additional zoning regulations on the locations of medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation centers under a proposal introduced to City Council today by the Department of Housing and Economic Development (HED).Chairman Ed Burke is a cosponsor of the proposed zoning regulations.

“As the City of Chicago prepares to comply with the landmark change in state law which will allow the sale of medical marijuana to begin across Illinois next year, it is both timely and necessary to lay down a blueprint which spells out exactly how this new law will affect Chicagoans,” Alderman Burke said. “It is our intention by enacting these zoning amendments that we will ensure a transparent process and full public participation,” Alderman Burke said.

The regulations would coincide with the State of Illinois’ Compassionate Use of Medical Pilot Program Act, which legalizes the sale and possession of medical marijuana for people with debilitating illnesses with required prescription. The regulations would go into effect upon of the State’s regulations which is anticipated to be announced in January of 2014.

The HED proposal would amend the City zoning code by requiring growing facilities and dispensaries to obtainspecial use permits from the Zoning Board of Appeals. The proposal would also limit their locations to manufacturing districts and establish minimum parking requirements based on facility sizes.

The amendments would be in addition to State of Illinois law, which caps the total number of cultivation centers at 22 -- one for each State Police district -- and limits the total number of dispensaries at 60. The State law also restricts cultivation centers from opening with 2,500 feet of a school, day care center, or residential area, and prohibits dispensaries from opening within a residence, residential area, or within 1,000 feet of a school or day care.

The HED proposal would also decriminalize the possession of medical marijuana within the Chicago Municipal Code.

 

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