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updated: 4/7/2014 2:32 PM

Wauconda to debate zoning rules for medical marijuana businesses

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  • Wauconda officials on Tuesday will debate zoning rules for medical marijuana facilities.

      Wauconda officials on Tuesday will debate zoning rules for medical marijuana facilities.

 
 

Wauconda officials on Tuesday will discuss proposed zoning regulations for businesses that would grow or sell medical marijuana in town.

A vote could come next week.

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The village's proposed rules are based on a model developed by a Lake County task force that studied the issue last year. Comprised of police officials, village planners and other officials from more than 30 communities, the group recommended a host of rules for marijuana businesses.

They focus on security features, parking, signs and other retail elements.

The cultivation and sale of marijuana for medicinal purposes became legal in Illinois on New Year's Day. State lawmakers approved the controversial proposal last year.

It establishes a maximum of 60 dispensaries and 22 cultivation centers statewide. That means few of the businesses actually could open in Lake County.

Under the law, reasonable zoning regulations for the facilities are allowed.

And that's where the villages come in. Many suburban boards, including Wauconda's, enacted moratoriums on marijuana centers last year until officials could develop zoning rules.

Hanover Park, Naperville, Elgin, Round Lake Beach and Lake in the Hills are among the suburbs that are considering or have adopted regulations.

Wauconda staffers have been working on their proposal since December, said Chris Miller, the town's director of building, planning and zoning.

Among the rules being considered in Wauconda:

• Cultivation centers and dispensaries would be limited to industrial districts.

• Dispensary hours would be limited to between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.

• Security and surveillance systems would be required.

• Drive-through service would not be allowed at dispensaries.

• Signs can use the words "cannabis" or "marijuana" but not slang terms for the drug or cartoonish images.

• Buildings for either type of business must be made of brick or stone and reinforced to prevent burglaries.

"We just want to stay within the limits of the law," Mayor Frank Bart said.

Wauconda's committee-of-the-whole meeting is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday at village hall, 101 N. Main St.

If the board approves the rules at its April 15 meeting, they would become effective immediately, Miller said.

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