Buffalo Grove, Lincolnshire latest to prepare for possible legal marijuana
Medical marijuana patient Kevin Brown smells the products at The Apothecarium Medical Cannabis Dispensary in San Francisco. Medical marijuana dispensaries are located in states where people can use pot with a doctor's recommendation. Illinois lawmakers ar
Updated: April 1, 2013 2:04AM
LINCOLNSHIRE — Across the northwest suburbs, towns are preparing for the possibility that the state government might legalize the use of marijuana, when prescribed by doctors.
The “Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act” was stalled during the lame-duck legislative session that finished early this month, but may see new life this spring. Now village managers are working to get their zoning ordinances — and their residents — ready for any changes that may come.
“The state, in effect, would be telling us, ‘We are going to establish these things, and we are going to have to put them somewhere. We may put them in your village,’” said Kildeer village administrator Michael Talbett. “If they do that, we want to make sure we have some say so in this.”
Should Springfield legalize marijuana for medical use (a change that the tobacco industry is lobbying for heavily in several states), sales would have to take place at locations authorized to handle prescription medications — possibly existing medical offices, or pharmacies. However, with marijuana being a smoking product, it would lend itself to marketing in existing smoke shops and the state could allow them to apply for licences.
In Buffalo Grove, the village board directed its plan commission earlier this month to draft recommendations for a zoning code for a medical marijuana outlet; such an ordinance would give local officials some control regarding where marijuana could be sold. Before the board can approve or deny any recommendations, the plan commission will hold a public hearing regarding its suggestions.
In Lincolnshire, village manager Brad Burke said his staff had begun considering where such an operation would be possible, and what kind of zoning ordinances the board might want to consider.
“We’ve done some preliminary looking at the legislation,” he said. “Where such a facility could possibly be located, what our exposure points could possibly be.”
The current bill mandates that distributors must be at least 2,500 feet away from schools and childcare facilities.
“It would be very challenging” for any kind of company in Lincolnshire to meet that requirement and seek a license, Burke said.
Should the state someday approve any form of legalized marijuana, it would convert a well-documented — but currently illegal industry — into a taxable revenue stream.
Owners and managers of several of the area’s tobacco stores did not wish to comment this month about the notion of selling medicinal marijuana next to their cigars. Ken Neumann, owner of Cigars & More in Long Grove and Libertyville, said it would never be a consideration for his business.
“We’re a family shop, and my kids are proud of what I do,” Neumann said. “I’d never want to get involved in any kind of drug use.”