Schaumburg mulls $100,000 fee for medical pot dispensary

 
 
Updated 11/13/2014 5:07 PM

Schaumburg officials are considering an annual $100,000 impact fee to cover governmental costs generated by any medical marijuana dispensary that may locate in the village.

Though only one state license is available for the total area covered by Elk Grove and Schaumburg townships, the village of Schaumburg itself has received seven applications for a dispensary.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Schaumburg's Finance, Legal and General Government Committee Wednesday recommended approval of such an impact fee. The village board will consider and possibly vote on this recommendation Dec. 9.

Assistant Village Manager Paula Hewson said the recommended fee is intended to cover public safety costs the village doesn't believe should be borne by other taxpayers. These include the potential for an increase in crime and police calls due to the fact the dispensaries will do all their business in cash and be bringing an otherwise illegal, controlled substance to the area, she said.

The village has identified parts of two of its industrial parks as the only areas that meet the zoning restrictions for a medical marijuana dispensary. One is around the Elgin-O'Hare Expressway south of Wise Road, while the other is around the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway south of Algonquin Road, north of Golf Road, east of Plum Grove Road and west of Meacham Road.

Though the state will ultimately issue a license for only one dispensary in all of Elk Grove and Schaumburg townships, the village of Schaumburg is first reviewing whether any or all of the applicants would qualify for a special-use permit, Planning and Permits Manager Tom Farace said.

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Schaumburg Village Attorney Lance Malina said he believes impact fees like the one Schaumburg is considering will be common and legally defensible.

"It's unchartered waters in that there are none yet in place," he said. "Therefore, none have been challenged yet."

But Malina said that what is clear-cut, based on evidence from states that legalized medical marijuana earlier, is that there will be a public safety cost impact from the dispensaries.

Illinois Department of Revenue spokeswoman Sue Hofer said that as a municipality with home rule authority, Schaumburg would not be barred from imposing such an impact fee as long as it isn't based on the selling price of a product or gross receipts of a business. Beyond that, the Department of Revenue takes no position on this sort of impact fee, she added.

Malina and Hewson said that the intention of the impact fee is not to make Schaumburg a less attractive location to medical marijuana dispensaries.

In September, neighboring Elk Grove Village approved a requirement that any dispensary locating there pay $5,000 to the village, the Kenneth Young Center that provides mental health and senior support, Alexian Brothers Health System, and the police department's Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program.

Elk Grove Village officials also required that any medical marijuana cultivation center pay $15,000 each to the three community organizations and $30,000 to the village.

Alexian Brothers officials have since said they would decline any funds received from such sources.

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