Mayor: Medical marijuana dispensary a 'positive thing' for Algonquin

Updated 1/25/2017 3:37 PM
  • Algonquin officials are considering allowing a medical marijuana dispensary to open at 1154 N. Main St.

    Algonquin officials are considering allowing a medical marijuana dispensary to open at 1154 N. Main St. Courtesy of the Village of Algonquin

The benefits outweigh the risks when it comes to opening a medical marijuana dispensary in Algonquin, officials say.

Ross Morreale of ILDISP III LLC has proposed repurposing a free-standing building at 1154 N. Main St. to sell marijuana products and paraphernalia to patients with state-issued permits.

Some neighbors have expressed concerns over the safety and security of the business, officials said. But Village President John Schmitt said authorizing a medical marijuana facility in the village is no different from opening a pharmacy.

Dispensaries, he said, though somewhat controversial by nature, allow communities to offer pain relief to residents suffering from debilitating diseases. The closest existing facility to Algonquin is in Schaumburg.

"For us to have one that's so close for our residents, I think, is a very positive thing," Schmitt said. "I would certainly hope the stigma of the word 'marijuana' is overlooked for the benefit that this provides."

Trustees acting as a committee of the whole Tuesday agreed to move forward with Morreale's request for a one-year special-use permit. They are expected to consider the proposal as a village board next week.

Algonquin's approval would be contingent upon the company receiving its appropriate state licensing. ILDISP III representatives plan to petition the state for approval this spring.

If all goes well, Morreale said, the dispensary would likely operate no earlier than 10 a.m. and no later than 7 p.m. five to six days a week. In the first year, he anticipates seeing 200 to 300 patients per month, though that number could increase drastically if chronic pain is added to the list of conditions eligible for receiving medical marijuana.

Morreale, also the chairman of the Medical Cannabis Alliance of Illinois, operates several other dispensaries and cultivation centers in Illinois and said he has not experienced crime or safety issues. The Algonquin dispensary, like all others, would follow a security plan and operate under strict state guidelines, he said.

The facility will be under 24-hour video surveillance, as per a request from the police department, village officials said.

Patients must use their state-certified identification card to access the area where the marijuana and paraphernalia are sold, Morreale said, and any visitors who enter a public access area, which would be used for patient outreach services, would have to sign in. An attached garage would also be added onto the building to ensure secure deliveries and waste removal.

Community development director Russ Farnum said the proposed location for the dispensary, which is part of a medical office complex, is ideal for its use.

"It's not on a primary retail corridor, yet it's easily accessible for the people who need the medicine," he said. "This is a compassionate use of cannabis. This is for people who are very sick and need it very badly."

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