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Article updated: 12/5/2013 5:44 PM

Naperville questions drive-throughs for marijuana dispensaries

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Naperville is likely to restrict locations for marijuana cultivation centers and dispensing organizations that could open beginning Jan. 1 when medical use of marijuana becomes legal in Illinois.

The restrictions, which the city council began considering this week, would require each facility that wants to locate in Naperville to receive conditional approval.

Cultivation centers to grow marijuana could open only in areas zoned for industrial use, research and development, or office, research and light industry.

Dispensing organizations. where patients with eligible health conditions would buy marijuana, could open in areas zoned for community shopping centers, general commercial uses or health services in addition to the locations appropriate for cultivation centers.

Those restrictions are in addition to provisions in state law that say cultivation centers cannot be within 2,500 feet of the property line of a school, day care center or residential area, and only one can open in each of the 22 state police districts statewide.

The state also prohibits dispensing organizations from being located within 1,000 feet of the property line of a school or day care, from opening in any type of residence or residential area, and from referring patients to a physician.

Under Naperville's proposed restrictions, which are set for a vote Dec. 17, dispensing organizations would be allowed to build drive-throughs, but retail purchases of items other than medical marijuana would be limited to 10 percent of the dispensary's total sales.

Whether dispensing organizations should be allowed to have drive-throughs triggered the most debate, as council members said they generally favor moving slowly as medical marijuana comes into Illinois by adding extra regulations to the state law.

"I think we're heading in the right direction trying to control this," council member Doug Krause said.

Krause and council members Paul Hinterlong, Judith Brodhead, Joseph McElroy and Robert Fieseler said they don't think drive-throughs should be allowed on dispensing organizations, although some liken the facilities to pharmacies.

Council member Steve Chirico, however, said he thinks the council should let the market determine whether dispensaries will have drive-throughs. He said cultivation and dispensing facilities should be allowed in some areas without having to go through the process of conditional use and he suggested the council loosen the regulation on the percentage of sales that can come from other items.

The council did not remove permission to build drive-throughs from the medical marijuana regulations as proposed, but members could make changes before taking a vote at their next meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 17, in the municipal center, 400 S. Eagle St.

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