Mundelein approves zoning rules for marijuana businesses

Mundelein trustees on Monday approved zoning restrictions for businesses intending to grow, process or sell marijuana to adults who want the drug for recreational use.

The rules pave the way for the town's lone medical marijuana dispensary, The Clinic Mundelein, to begin selling pot to anyone 21 or older starting Jan. 1. It already has the state permit to do so.

Under the rules:

• Only one marijuana dispensary will be allowed to operate in Mundelein at a time.

• Any marijuana-related business that isn't a dispensary, such as a grower or a processing facility, will need a special use permit from the village.

• Dispensaries won't need that extra permit.

• A marijuana store can operate in a shopping center, a manufacturing zone or a mixed-use manufacturing zone - as long as it's not in the downtown area.

• Growers, cultivation centers and processing centers are allowed in manufacturing zones but not commercial zones.

• Cannabis businesses aren't allowed within 1,500 feet of existing medical or recreational cannabis dispensaries, 1,000 feet of schools, 1,000 feet of day care facilities or 500 feet of parks.

• On-site consumption is prohibited at any cannabis-related business.

• Dispensaries will be allowed to operate daily between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

The Clinic Mundelein has operated in an industrial area at 1325 Armour Blvd. since 2015. Its parent company, Chicago-based Green Thumb Industries, plans to change the store's name to Rise ahead of the expansion to recreational sales.

"We are thrilled Rise Mundelein will be open for adult use sales on Jan. 1," Linda Marsicano, a company spokeswoman, told the Daily Herald. "We look forward to continuing our great relationship with the village of Mundelein, its residents and the community."

The state law legalizing licensed recreational marijuana sales allows communities to ban such retailers, and the debates over the issue have been passionate.

The Mundelein board announced its intent to allow - but regulate - recreational marijuana sales in September. The zoning regulations passed 5-1 Monday.

Trustee Dawn Abernathy was an outspoken opponent of allowing pot sales in town, and she voted against the zoning rules. Conversely, Trustee Ray Semple voted for the regulations despite opposing local marijuana sales.

"I do believe we need these rules," Semple explained. "I believe these rules are solid."

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