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Springfield Aldermen Want More Information Before Medical Marijuana Vote

The General

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Illinois - The Springfield City Council could vote next week on proposed rules for where medical marijuana is sold in the city, but aldermen want more information before making any decisions. At Tuesday's committee of the whole meeting, aldermen moved to next week's debate agenda a proposed ordinance that refers proposed regulations on the cultivation and distribution of medical marijuana to the Springfield Planning and Zoning Commission. The proposal requests that the commission hold a public hearing on amending the city's zoning code.

Aldermen raised questions about where exactly within Springfield a medical cannabis facility could legally go, and are seeking more specific information from the city attorney's office in the next week that could better pinpoint that. "When corporation counsel said there's a map out there, I think that raised some questions," said Ward 1 Ald. Frank Edwards, who chaired Tuesday's meeting. "I think that will clear up a lot about where it can and can't be sold."

The Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program, which took effect Jan. 1, allows for 21 cultivation centers and 60 dispensaries statewide, with their locations divided among Illinois State Police districts. The state law allows qualified recipients with certain chronic conditions such as cancer, AIDS and lupus, among others, to buy marijuana for medicinal purposes to alleviate pain and nausea associated with the illness itself or its treatment. The state last month handed down more specific rules that dictate some of the setback details – cultivation centers and dispensaries must be a certain distance away from schools, day care centers and residential areas. Now, municipal leaders are considering local zoning regulations, in order to have set parameters as the state issues licenses to dispensary operators.

The city and Sangamon County have been working with the Springfield-Sangamon County Regional Planning Commission to draft similar ordinances. The city's current proposal closely follows the state statute. The proposed amendment to the Springfield zoning code would restrict cultivation centers from being within 2,500 feet of schools, day care centers and residentially zoned areas. Cultivation centers also could not be within 1,000 feet of other cultivation centers or dispensaries.

Dispensing facilities could not be within 1,000 feet of schools and day care centers and could not be within a house, apartment, physician's office or in an area zoned for residential use. Mayor Mike Houston said last week he "fully expects" medical cannabis facilities to locate in Springfield, as a regional medical hub. The city legal staff's opinion is that as it stands currently, a medical marijuana dispensing facility with a state license could fall under the drugstore category and would be allowed in the downtown area, Corporation Counsel Todd Greenburg said.

But it's not necessarily just restricted to downtown if the setback regulations are met. Edwards asked Greenburg to provide aldermen with additional information before Tuesday's council meeting. If they don't have what they need by then, Edwards said he anticipates the ordinance will be held in committee. "We're going to do it right," Edwards said.


News Moderator - The General @ 420 MAGAZINE ®
Source: Sj-r.com
Author: Jamie Munks
Contact: Contact Us
Website: Springfield aldermen want more information before medical marijuana vote - News - The State Journal-Register - Springfield, IL
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