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This page contains all of our blog posts covering the City of Chicago’s local rules for medical marijuana businesses. The plan at present is to locate cultivation centers and dispensaries in manufacturing districts only, and to require them to obtain special use permits. Mayor Emanuel’s office supports this plan.

Peru has three cannabis cultivation center applicants

At least three separate groups have asked Peru, Illinois Mayor Scott Harl for a letter of support to operate a medical cannabis cultivation center. Peru is in LaSalle County and within the television viewing market of several major Illinois population centers, including Chicago, Peoria, the Quad Cities, and Rockford.

Apparently Peru’s Mayor is reluctant to provide any applicant with a letter, but that doesn’t mean he objects to his city receiving the benefits of new enterprise.

According to an article in today’s Illinois Valley News Tribune:

The companies are assembling applications to the state this summer and wrote letters to Peru asking for recommendations, Harl told the City Council Monday.

While he has no objections to the business, Harl does not support providing letters of recommendation, he said.

“Personally, I don’t think we should do that,” Harl said, then adding: “I haven’t had any pushback from the community.”

The News Tribune article attributes a very wise quote to Alderman Jim Lukosus:

“If somebody is going to benefit from the economic activity, which shouldn’t it be us?”

Alderman Mike Sapienza also made a wise point:

“If Bayer Aspirin wanted to move in we’d welcome them with open arms. It’s just another medication.”

There is, however, one statement in the article that is pretty far out of touch with reality. It appears the mayor was told a cultivation center creates 100 jobs. This figure is way off base though.

A cultivation center ranging in size from 20,000 square feet to 60,000 square feet will likely employ no more than 20 or 30 employees. The payroll demands alone of a 100-person team would propel startup costs far beyond their already astronomical level. And of course, there simply are not enough duties for 100 people. Nor would you want that many people passing through your facility, for the sake of keeping the plants free from biological contaminants and other impurities.

An initial staffing plan calls for a basic executive management team, just like an other production business, plus a hierarchy of cultivators, a few security and transportation personnel, a small team devoted to infused products and edibles, packaging and labeling, and inventory, and a handful of other positions, depending on the dynamics of the team. There is a lot of room for creativity, but not beyond 20 or 3o people unfortunately.

But let’s not forget about the substantial economic benefits that will be received by consultants, building contractors, designers, architects, and goods and services providers.

Peru is in District 17… May the odds be ever in your favor.

Joliet City Council hearing dispensary special use permit

Prospective medical cannabis cultivation centers and dispensaries are approaching city councils, village boards of trustees, and county governments all over Illinois. This is necessary because the medical cannabis law requires cultivation centers to be 2500 feet away from residential zones and dispensaries to be located outside of residential zones (plus 1000 feet from schools and child care). In some cases zoning changes or assurances may be sought from the municipal government. And there are a lot of other reasons why it is important to be on good terms with local officials.

I pay close attention to what’s happening all over the state, and the last two weeks have brought a flurry of activity for municipal governments. For example, the City Council of Peoria is meeting tomorrow to consider granting a new type of special use permit for a dispensary operator.

According to MySuburbanLife.com:

“The dispensary would be at 1627 Rock Creek Blvd. in the Rock Run Business Park, near Houbolt Road and Interstate 80.

Fire Management Services needs the special-use permit in order to register with the Illinois Department of Financial Planning for a license to distribute medical marijuana. The developer has not yet selected an operator for the dispensary.”

The newspaper also includes this oddly-worded statement:

Marijuana at the facility would have a low THC content, and generally be distributed in pill, liquid or edible forms, according to Michael J. Martin, a Joliet attorney representing the developers.

I hope that is wrong. It would be too bad for patients who need immediate relief by smoking or vaporizing and too bad for patients with nervous system disorders who require THC for their particular conditions.

More public education is needed on these issues. It is very good that people are beginning to understand that CBD has immense medical value, but people must also understand that isolating CBD is not a good idea. You need THC too!

If you don’t believe me, maybe CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta can help you understand the “entourage effect.”

What other cities and villages are thinking about medical cannabis? Belleville, Jacksonville, Chicago, Champaign, and Rockford, to name a few. And these are just the ones that local newspapers have covered. Obviously unreported conversations are happening everywhere.

It’s officially the future. After 80 years of exile, cannabis is returning to its rightful place in the American pharmacopeia.

Joliet is in District 5…. May the odds be ever in your favor.

Chicago’s plan for controlling the location of medical marijuana businesses would allow cultivation centers and dispensaries to be located only in areas zoned as manufacturing districts. The plan has the support of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chairman Ed Burke of the Department of Housing and Economic Development (HED).

If Chicago’s City Council approves the plan, prospective  dispensaries and cultivation centers will have to apply for special use permits through the City’s Zoning Board of Appeals. Prospective operators must locate in manufacturing zones, and they must reserve minimum parking space requirements based upon the size of their facilities. (Mayor’s office press release here).

The City’s Bureau of Planning and Zoning provides an excellent zoning map of Chicago where you can get information about potential facility locations. The text of Chicago’s Zoning and Land Use Ordinances are also available online.

Chicago’s proposed location restrictions are in addition to those already imposed by the State of Illinois’ Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act. The law prohibits cultivation centers from being located within 2500 feet (a half mile) of schools, child care facilities, and areas zoned for residential use. The law also prohibits dispensaries from being located within 1000 feet of schools and child care facilities. These rules are applicable in the City of Chicago.

Plus there are two other huge restrictions imposed by law. First, there can be no more than one cultivation center in each state police district. The City of Chicago is itself a single State Police District, which means only one cultivation center can be located in Chicago. However, there is a bill in the legislature which would amend the law to allow a State Police District to have more than one cultivation center, but no more than two. These amendments have a good chance of passing because they have been attached to relatively uncontroversial  internet lottery legislation (SB 1955) which has already been approved by one chamber of the legislature.

Second, regarding dispensaries, the law requires that up to 60 of them be:

“Geographically dispersed throughout the state to allow all registered qualifying patients reasonable proximity and access to a dispensary.” Section 155(a).

Illinois is a relatively large state, and much of the southern 2/3 of it is rural. But assuming there is as much interest in the southern part of the state as there is in Chicago, the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation may be able to grant only so many dispensary registrations to operators in Chicago.

Are you planning a cultivation center or dispensary? Check out this new book: Illinois Medical Marijuana Law: A Practical Guide for Everyone. It’s a handy reference guide you should keep by your side over the coming months. Get a head start on the competition before the regulations come into effect. Kindle/tablet version also available.