Lake County task force creates model rules for pot businesses
A task force has developed model rules for entrepreneurs who want to open medical marijuana growing facilities and dispensaries in Lake County.
The proposals aren't binding. Rather, they're templates municipal officials can use when they develop regulations for their towns.
The proposed regulations focus on security features, parking, signs and other business-related elements.
Police officials, village planners and other municipal leaders from more than 30 communities participated in the project.
"We had law enforcement from Lake County, Mundelein, and Libertyville to name a few," said Eric Waggoner, the county's planning, building and development director. "(We had) planners from Deerfield, Lake Forest, Waukegan, Antioch and Grayslake among others, and village administrators from Kildeer, Round Lake Beach, Wadsworth and Bannockburn participating, among their counterparts from other jurisdictions."
The task force made several suggestions, including:
• Cultivation centers and dispensaries should not be located in leased space, buildings with other uses or on properties that share parking lots with other types of businesses.
• Parking areas should be well-lighted and monitored by video surveillance equipment.
• Signs should not be allowed to depict cannabis plants or drug paraphernalia.
• Signs should not include any words that identify the business as a marijuana facility.
Some of the suggestions specifically address cultivation facilities. For example, loading of product should occur within secure, enclosed shipping bays and should not be visible from outside the building.
Likewise, some suggestions specifically address dispensaries. Under the proposal, marijuana or related products should not be visible from a public sidewalk or neighboring property.
Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor praised the task force's work.
"Instead of each community trying to develop regulations individually, we came together to share ideas and resources," Lawlor said in a news release. "The result is a set of model regulations that can be used consistently across Lake County."
The cultivation and sale of medical marijuana became legal in Illinois on New Year's Day. The task force formed in August, after state lawmakers approved the legislation.
The law established a maximum of 60 dispensaries and 22 cultivations centers statewide. It allows reasonable zoning regulations for the facilities.