Palatine council nixes proposed medical marijuana dispensary
The Palatine village council rejected a proposal to allow a medical marijuana distribution center in the village after a lengthy debate at the village hall Monday evening.
The petitioner, Northwest Medical Distribution, proposed to convert the building at 400 S. Vermont Road into a facility that would sell medical marijuana to patients signed up under the state pilot program. Even had the council passed the plan, the petitioners still would have needed approval from the state to acquire one of the 60 dispensary licenses.
Kerry Lavelle, a Palatine attorney representing the petitioner, told the council that the petitioners were proposing to operate a safe, secure facility.
"If your head is wrapped into this 1970s and 1980s head shop of black lights and incense you're in the wrong place emotionally," Lavelle said. "This is a pharmacy and is a serious, serious pharmacy, and it has security around it similar to a bank or a jewelry store."
The discussion on the issue lasted for more than two hours. More than a dozen members of the public spoke, including state Rep. Tom Morrison, a Republican from Palatine.
"I did vote against this bill when it came up in the House and I would gladly do it again," Morrison said, to scattered applause. "There are a lot of problems with this law."
Morrison referenced Lavelle's comment about the dispensary being like a pharmacy, saying that there would be no actual pharmacist on the premises. Morrison also cited a lack of transparency with the law at the state level as a reason he did not support it.
Every member of the public who spoke at the meeting was against the proposal. Many said they had a problem with medical marijuana being so close to their homes.
"I ask you to think about your own backyards and you own children and your own churches and if you would want this in your backyard," said Jinny Koide, a representative from Deer Grove Covenant Church.
The church borders the proposed dispensary site. Koide said church officials discussed their concerns with Lavelle and they had agreed to include an 8-foot-high privacy fence along the property line and reduce their hours during regular church activities had the proposal been approved by the village and state.
The council voted the proposal down 5-2. The two affirmative votes were from councilmen Greg Solberg and Scott Lamerand.
The petitioners cannot propose another dispensary at the same address, Deputy Village Manager Michael Jacobs said. He said there are no other proposals for medical marijuana dispensaries in the village at this time.