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updated: 1/9/2013 11:52 AM

Wauconda weighs impact of medical marijuana

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A proposal to legalize the distribution and use of marijuana for medical purposes in Illinois seems to have stalled, but Wauconda officials discussed the possible local impact during a meeting Tuesday night.

State lawmakers began seriously considering the possible legalization of medical marijuana late last year, but the General Assembly's veto session is drawing to a close without action on the matter.

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Even so, Wauconda Police Chief Douglas Larsson told the village board it's an issue they should review.

"(This is) an opportunity to talk about what may be coming our way in the future," Larsson said during the committee-of-the-whole meeting.

The proposal before lawmakers was limited to medical marijuana that would be distributed at regulated dispensaries, Larsson explained. The legalization of marijuana possession for recreational use, which occurred recently in Colorado and Washington state, wasn't on the table.

The current proposal would limit qualified patients to 2 ounces of marijuana. Patients suffering from cancer, HIV and other painful diseases have said marijuana use eases the symptoms. The latest proposal would limit dispensaries to one per state Senate district. Municipal leaders would not be able to prevent a dispensary from opening, but they could control where it opens through zoning rules, Larsson said.

For example, a dispensary may not be appropriate near a school, park or church, attorney Rudy Magna said.

Magna said he recently visited his son in Denver and saw three active dispensaries.

"You're going to want to carefully plan for this potential," he cautioned.

Trustees in Barrington, Buffalo Grove, Grayslake and Lake Forest are among the officials who have discussed the legislation, which could resurface later this year in a new form.

The legislation in Springfield is labeled as a pilot program. On Tuesday, Magna and some trustees questioned if such a program would pave the way for additional marijuana legalization.

Wauconda's building and zoning committee may take up the matter. No formal decisions were made Tuesday night.

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