Huntley says 'no' to recreational pot businesses

Updated 1/31/2020 5:54 PM

Huntley is the latest town to prohibit recreational pot businesses.

With little discussion, the village board voted last week to enact the ban after considering and rejecting a series of text amendments to the village's zoning ordinance regulating recreational marijuana retailers unanimously recommended by the plan commission.


The move comes after several residents spoke against allowing the sale of adult-use marijuana within the village at a November plan commission hearing to consider cannabis business regulations.

Resident Geri Levine, a registered nurse, was the only person who spoke in favor of allowing a medical and recreational marijuana dispensary in town at both meetings.

"There are many conditions -- epilepsy, Parkinson's and ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) -- that would be relieved by medical marijuana," Levine said. "Right now, people are suffering without it."

She supports allowing a licensed recreational marijuana dispensary to regulate what people are buying.

"If we think our children don't have access to marijuana, we are fooling ourselves," Levine said. "I just want my grandsons not to buy something on the street because I don't know what's in them. But if they are old enough and go to a dispensary, I know what they are going to get and it's not going to be tainted with some kind of chemical that would be dangerous to them."

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Huntley trustees allowed medical marijuana businesses -- dispensary and cultivation center -- as special uses in the regional retail and manufacturing districts. But recreational pot is inconsistent with the "family values" of village residents, Trustee Harry Leopold said.

Neighboring towns that have approved recreational marijuana dispensaries include, Carpentersville, Crystal Lake, East and West Dundees, South Elgin, and St. Charles.

Thirty-six licensed medical marijuana dispensaries across the state also are selling recreational marijuana to adults 21 and older, including in Mundelein, North Aurora and Addison. A total of 48 dispensaries have been licensed to sell recreational pot, but not all are doing so, in part, because local zoning codes don't allow it in places such as Arlington Heights and Naperville.

Algonquin and now Huntley join the ranks of towns whose zoning doesn't allow recreational pot sales.

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