Palatine, state at odds over medical marijuana dispensary

  • Maura "Mitch" Meyers (left) stands with her attorney before the Palatine Zoning Board of Appeals in October 2014 to discuss her company's proposal to open a medical marijuana dispensary in the village. Meyers said she is consulting with lawyers and Illinois officials about the village's rejection of her business, which has won a state license.

      Maura "Mitch" Meyers (left) stands with her attorney before the Palatine Zoning Board of Appeals in October 2014 to discuss her company's proposal to open a medical marijuana dispensary in the village. Meyers said she is consulting with lawyers and Illinois officials about the village's rejection of her business, which has won a state license. Doug T. Graham | Staff Photographer, 2014

 
 
Updated 2/6/2015 5:55 AM

Earlier this week, the state of Illinois granted Nature's Care a license to operate a medical marijuana dispensary at a former Peko Tile building on Colfax Street in Palatine.

The licensing decision, however, arrives nearly two months after the Palatine village council rejected the downstate company's proposal to set up shop in the suburb, claiming the facility was too close to homes and would lower property values.

 

The conflict raises questions about what happens when the state and a municipality disagree on the suitability of a medical marijuana business.

Palatine officials indicate they have no intention of backing down from their initial finding that the business didn't belong at the Colfax Street location. Just because the proposal was good enough for the state does not mean it complies with village standards, Village Manager Reid Ottesen said.

"Last I checked the state didn't control local land-use decisions," Ottesen added.

Under village rules, a petitioner whose request for a special use permit from the village is denied must wait a year before reapplying. The only exception is if the petitioner makes a significant change to the land-use component of their proposal.

Maura "Mitch" Meyers, president and co-owner of Nature's Care, said she and her attorneys have contacted the Illinois Attorney General and other state officials to go over their options for challenging the village's decision.

"I don't know why we would need to change anything from a land-use basis because it was approved by the state," Meyers said, noting that the proposal meets every state requirement on land use, including distance from residential property.

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Meyers believes the village council rejected her plan because they don't want that kind of business in town.

"They made an arbitrary decision based on perception, that they don't want a dispensary in Palatine," Meyers said.

The village council also rejected another company's proposal for a dispensary at 400 S. Vermont Road.

After the December vote against Nature's Care, Councilman Greg Solberg told a crowd of medical marijuana supporters that the decision was about land use and not about medical marijuana.

"You could be in favor of what the medical marijuana act is trying to accomplish and still have a problem with the location," he said.

Ottesen said he has not been contacted by Nature's Care about putting a modified version of their proposal before the council again.

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