Setting up a marijuana dispensary in Vernon Hills could be very expensive and fairly complicated — once officials are done setting the rules.Medical marijuana became legal in Illinois this year, but several state agencies are still working on official guidelines before allowing the drug to circulate. Many public officials, including some in Lake County, are also anticipating a full legalization soon.Each municipality has a right to regulate sale of the drug, and Vernon Hills officials want to be especially tough on potential dispensary owners.Trustees decided during their June 3 meeting to investigate possible local regulations such as application fees, minimum building sizes and restricting building locations to industrial areas.“I’d like to charge as much as possible, like six figures, in order to do business in this town,” Mayor Roger Byrne said of a potential application fee. Byrne also wants to create a new sales tax specifically for marijuana, and set that tax at the highest rate possible.Village Attorney Robert Kenney and Building Commissioner Mike Atkinson said a cultivation center would be unlikely to locate in Vernon Hills, because there is not enough space in the legally allowed portions of town.Cultivation centers, where the marijuana is grown and packaged, are typically “several hundred thousand square feet,” both Kenney and Atkinson said on numerous occasions.Dispensaries, where the drug is sold to people with state approved cards, can vary in size, however. Some dispensaries in Michigan, according to Kenney, are discrete and could fit in a strip mall.Trustees agreed that dispensaries in Vernon Hills should be distinguishable, without overpublicizing what they sell. Trustee James Shultz, in particular, hopes to use a minimum size requirement to discourage dispensaries from coming to Vernon Hills.Requiring companies to have a building larger than needed might make money-conscious companies look elsewhere, Schultz said. Doing so would also limit the number of buildings available to rent or purchase, he continued, and if all the legally allowed buildings are already occupied, then marijuana companies would move on.Illinois prohibits dispensaries from locating in residential areas or within 1,000 feet of schools and day care facilities. Vernon Hills cannot prevent a dispensary from buying or leasing property if all regulations are met, which is why trustees want to nail down regulations before the drug can be legally circulated.Areas in Vernon Hills that meet the distance requirements include retail areas along Townline Road and industrial areas like Corporate Woods on Route 45 and Continental Executive Park along Milwaukee Avenue.Trustees agreed to restrict marijuana sales to the industrial areas.Village Manager John Kalmar warned that limitations have to be “reasonable.” He said Vernon Hills could not require a company to have 1-million-square-foot building or impose fees that are too hefty.With these general guidelines, the village’s planning and zoning commission will work with employees over the next few months to research the limits of “reasonable” restrictions and then draft the official policy.Tags: Business, Government, Marijuana [embedded content]
This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service — if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.
Powered by WPeMatico