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Sun Nov 10, 2013, 02:40 PM

(IL) Naper Plan Commission examines rules for medical marijuana facilities

Naperville’s Planning and Zoning Commission has taken up the issue of medical marijuana facilities and how to regulate them.

The commission’s public hearing on amending the city’s zoning districts to accommodate changes in state law raised questions among commissioners, not least of which was the amount of traffic such facilities might bring.

“There’s a potential for a huge amount of traffic,” Commissioner Stephen Frost said.

Commission Chair Patty Gustin agreed, saying, “that’s a big question.”

The intent of the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, approved in August 2013 and going into effect Jan. 1, is to provide relief to those suffering chronic pain. But exactly what conditions would allow permits for the purchase of medical marijuana raised concerns among commissioners about the potential for abuse.

Commissioner Kevin Coyne worried that regulations “may be so easy that it almost becomes a legal use.”

City Attorney Kristen Foley said that Illinois’ statute clearly requires a doctor’s approval to obtain a permit. Foley also downplayed the danger of marijuana falling into the wrong hands and becoming a “gateway” drug leading to abuse of hard drugs.

“Law enforcement has expressed some concern, but there is no hard evidence that it happens,” she said.

The legislation permits cultivation centers and distribution facilities to be located within any municipality, subject to state restrictions, but doesn’t rule out further, more stringent restrictions if a municipality so chooses.

State regulations on the cultivation centers include that the organization be registered with the Department of Agriculture, not be located within 2,500 feet of a school, daycare center or residential area, and that not more than one cultivation center be located within a State Police districts, of which there are 22 in the state.


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