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updated: 1/2/2013 8:38 PM

Barrington makes precautionary move on medical pot

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Barrington officials made it clear Wednesday that they want the local economic recovery to have as little help as possible from a potential legalization of medical marijuana in Illinois.

As a precautionary measure, trustees passed a resolution that would get the ball rolling on zoning restrictions on "cannabis dispensaries or related facilities."

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Pending state House Bill 30, which would allow for the legal distribution of medical marijuana with some regulations of its own, might be considered by legislators during next week's veto session.

Though the possibility of a vote may be diminishing, Barrington chose to move forward with a resolution as Lake Forest officials recently did, Barrington Village President Karen Darch said.

The House bill is written in a way that wouldn't allow even home-rule communities to wholly prohibit medical marijuana dispensaries. But the ability exists to regulate their location from a zoning standpoint, Barrington attorney James Bateman said.

"I think the concern is not to have a time period without it," Bateman said of the Barrington resolution. "It would just save time in getting it before the plan commission."

And forwarding the issue to the plan commission is all the resolution does, rather than recommending any further regulations itself.

Among the restrictions already included in House Bill 30 is keeping potential cannabis dispensaries more than 2,500 feet from schools.

The bill specifically addresses only medical marijuana, not the broader legalization of the drug that recently occurred in Colorado and Washington state, Bateman said.

As the distribution of medical marijuana would continue to be illegal if the state legislature doesn't act next week, there likely would be no obligation for Barrington's plan commission to move forward on a moot point, Bateman said.

But Village Manager Jeff Lawler said plan commissioners may choose to draft a recommendation anyway just in case the bill returns at a later legislative session.

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