A heated discussion among Carpentersville trustees on the merits of regulating medical marijuana facilities this week has resulted in at least one extra meeting to further debate the matter.
The board was supposed to vote Tuesday on an ordinance to govern medical marijuana cultivation centers and dispensaries in the village. Medical marijuana became legal in Illinois Jan. 1.
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A maximum of 22 medical marijuana cultivation centers and 60 dispensaries are allowed to operate in Illinois with a state license and are subject to local zoning laws.
State law bars medical marijuana dispensaries from being within 1,000 feet of a school, day care or child care facility. Dispensaries cannot be located within a dwelling unit or residential areas. Cultivation centers must be more than 2,500 feet away from schools, child care facilities and residential areas. Based on those guidelines, it's unlikely a cultivation center could move to Carpentersville, Village Attorney Hart Passman said.
Arnold Klehm of Rutland Township, who spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting, said he intends to apply for a license to open a dispensary in the village, though he didn't specify the location.
Carpentersville's zoning code does not address dispensaries nor cultivation centers.
"Without some type of local regulation, there is the potential that one of these could be located where perhaps it is not intended by the proper authorities," Passman said.
The board adopted a resolution last June that directed its planning and zoning commission to consider amendments to the code on the issue.
The commission has recommended the board restrict the medical marijuana facilities to industrial areas, but only after the owner obtains a special use permit.
Trustee Paul Humpfer tried to cut off the debate before it even started, moving to table the matter indefinitely and terminate all discussion. Trustees Pat Schultz and Ginger Stevens agreed with him, but the rest of the board didn't, and Village President Ed Ritter cast the vote that broke the tie.
"Whether we like marijuana or don't like it, I think we have to make some decision," Ritter said.
Stevens and Schultz said they didn't have enough information to vote and requested a special meeting, now scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Schultz also fears overburdening the police department and wants to research how other states are handling medical marijuana and related laws. "There is a lot going on (to consider), a lot that I'm betting none of us know about," Schultz said.
"And we should have had a meeting to sit down and discuss these things openly."
Trustee Kay Teeter said she's concerned a dispensary would damage the village's image, one that it's trying to improve.
"There's other things that are at stake here, not just how well the profit would be here in our community with (Klehm)," Teeter said.
Ritter thinks of medical marijuana as a public service for people in need and says a dispensary would not harm the village's reputation.
"I don't know how a village can be faulted for helping people with cancer and post-traumatic stress disorder and other legally prescribed reasons," Ritter said.