Naperville 'very divided' on banning or allowing pot shops

Don't put Naperville on the list just yet of municipalities where recreational marijuana shops will be banned come Jan. 1.

City council members initially indicated they favored the idea of a ban on stores that would sell the substance for adult nonmedicinal use.

But during a discussion at the end of a seven-hour meeting this week, council members opened the door to at least considering if they want to set zoning rules that could allow in the new industry, made legal under the state's Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act.

Council members took no vote on a proposed ordinance that spells out the details of a local ban on adult-use cannabis businesses other than medical cannabis dispensaries or cultivation centers. Instead, they asked staff members to broaden the planned discussion for the Sept. 3 meeting to include early talk of how to regulate marijuana shops if they are to be allowed.

"This is to be continued," Mayor Steve Chirico told those remaining in the city council chambers as roughly two hours of discussion concluded about 2:10 a.m. Wednesday.

Setting zoning rules to regulate pot shops would take two to three months, said Allison Laff, deputy director of transportation, engineering and development. The city could use its ordinance about medical marijuana businesses as a base for potential decisions about how many recreational sellers to allow, where their shops could be located and the hours they could operate.

If the city chooses not to ban pot shops, the conversation about regulations would begin with a hearing or hearings before the planning and zoning commission before the council would have the final say, Laff said.

"We're very divided," council member John Krummen said. "Consensus will take time."

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