Schaumburg considering lab that tests quality, potency of pot crops
Schaumburg officials will consider allowing marijuana-testing labs in manufacturing districts through the issue of special-use permits. A proposal for one such facility is pending.
As Illinois' recreational pot industry matures, more labs will be needed to test the products of cultivators before they're sold to the public, said Stephen Taylor, CEO of Unitech Laboratories, which already operates in California and other states. The products are required to be tested for pesticides, metals, potency and other factors related to quality, he added.
One lab in Morton, near Peoria, does most of the testing for the state, said Nancy Adeszko, president of Unitech Illinois. Testing regulations already have gotten stricter in recent weeks, she added.
Taylor believes only about 25 such labs will be needed across the state and that it's unlikely more than one would be in Schaumburg. One lab should be sufficient for every 400,000 residents, and each requires about a $4 million investment, Unitech officials said.
Taylor said Unitech Laboratories never has much more than an ounce of marijuana on the property. A driver brings a small sample of a crop from the cultivator to the lab for testing.
Schaumburg Community Development Director Julie Fitzgerald said her department is not proposing a cap on the number of labs but is suggesting they not be counted toward the limit of five marijuana cultivation centers and other related manufacturing facilities.
Schaumburg's Planning, Building and Development Committee has recommended the village board approve the regulated presence of such businesses when it meets on Tuesday, Feb. 25.
"I don't have a problem with this," said Trustee Jack Sullivan, who leads the committee. "It seems like a no-brainer to have a lab like this here."
Only after such uses are allowed in the village would Unitech be able to get a special-use permit. Taylor said his company already has a spot that it's eyeing and it is hoping to be up and running sometime in May.
In December, the village board approved allowing up to five recreational marijuana dispensaries on properties zoned for retail that are at least 1,000 feet from any school, day care center or house of worship. A 3% village tax will be imposed on sales.