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Medical marijuana zoning debate set for Jan. 15 in Lake Zurich

Lake County Regional Planning Commissivoted 6-5 against recommending provisithwould prohibit cannabis dispensaries or culivatisites from sitting with500 feet residential areas

Lake County Regional Planning Commission voted 6-5 against recommending a provision that would prohibit cannabis dispensaries or culivation sites from sitting within 500 feet of residential areas, parks, forest preserves or places of worship. | AP

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Updated: February 10, 2014 11:59AM

With the state’s medical marijuana law now in effect, Lake Zurich’s plan commission is resuming its consideration of zoning changes to set guidelines for how and where marijuana dispensaries can open up in the village.

The first public hearing will be held Jan. 15.

The goal is to have an updated zoning code set by April, when the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act allows the state to begin issuing permits to eligible cultivation centers and dispensaries.

Municipalities cannot prohibit the facilities, but Lake Zurich is among many Lake County towns that have worked together to draft model zoning regulations.

“This county-wide task force is a model of government collaboration and efficiency,” Lake County Board chairman Aaron Lawlor said in a statement news release. “Instead of each community trying to develop regulations individually, we came together to share ideas and resources. The result is a set of model regulations that can be used consistently across Lake County.”

Some of the model zoning regulations for dispensaries and cultivation centers include:

• Marijuana must not be visible from any sidewalk, public or private right-of-way or any other property

• Shops cannot open in a multi-tenant property or share parking with any other zoned uses

• Signs can’t identify the property as a medical marijuana dispensary or cultivation center, nor can they use clinical, botanical or slang terms for marijuana

• Signs can’t depict marijuana or drug paraphernalia

For cultivation centers, proposed regulations include:

• Products most be delivered within secure and enclosed shipping bays

• Odors cannot impact neighboring properties

For dispensaries:

• Sign must be posted in a conspicuous place at or near dispensary entrances

• Merchandise packaging must be opaque and not identify its contents

• Smoking, inhaling or consuming marijuana in the dispensary or anywhere on the property is prohibited

“The regulations, I think, are designed to control to the greatest extent possible — reasonably control — where these uses can be located,” village attorney Scott Uhler at the Jan. 6 Lake Zurich Village Board meeting.

The law allows 22 cultivation centers and 60 marijuana dispensaries to operate in Illinois. Only one cultivation center is allowed per state police district. Dispensaries are to be dispersed throughout the state to allow all qualifying patients reasonable access to prescriptions.

Three state agencies are required to establish rules for patient identification cards. Once names are on the Illinois Department of Public Health’s registry, those with prescriptions can legally access the drug.

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