Barrington prepares for potential medical marijuana dispensaries
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: February 11, 2013 6:12AM
BARRINGTON — The Barrington Village Board granted approval Wednesday night for its Plan Commission to consider zoning recommendations in case the state allows for medical marijuana dispensaries.
Village President Karen Darch explained that the General Assembly may entertain a bill in its lame duck session that would allow for such facilities to be established in the area. Darch described Barrington’s measure a cautionary move.
“We want to make sure our zoning ordinance would properly deal with location,” Darch said. “Medical marijuana dispensing places are not listed currently in the zoning ordinance.”
Darch said the Plan Commission will scheduled a meeting to discuss a special use ordinance. She explained that although municipalities cannot protest a potential state law allowing medical marijuana dispensaries, local bodies do have control over the location of these facilities.
“We have some control at the local level of where these should be,” she said.
Village Manager Jeff Lawler added that the Plan Commission would host public hearings on potential sites for medical marijuana dispensaries.
“What we can do under state law is to say ‘this is an appropriate place, this is not an appropriate place,’” said Lawler. “You certainly wouldn’t want this near an elementary school or a high school.”
The Plan Commission has not yet set any dates for its meetings. After the public hearings, Lawler said the Plan Commission will then send a recommendation to the Village Board and trustees will act on that recommendation.
Darch and Lawler both said the Board convened for a Wednesday night special session because they wanted to get ahead of the process. The Board is not scheduled to meet again until Jan. 14.
“If the legislature would have passed this law, we would have been behind in this process,” said Lawler.
According to the proposed village resolution, medical marijuana dispensaries are authorized to grow, harvest and distribute marijuana to qualifying individuals who have been diagnosed by a physician as having a debilitating medical condition. These individuals, when obtaining marijuana from an authorized distribution facility, will not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or denial of any right or privilege to use the marijuana for medical purposes, the village documents state.
Darch noted that Lake Forest has recently reviewed its zoning ordinances related to where such facilities should be located given state approval.