Cannabis sales are coming after a 6-3 vote by Naperville City Council last night to permit up to three adult-use dispensaries in the city. Council members Kelly, Krummen, Sullivan, White, Chirico, and Brodhead voted in favor while council members Coyne, Gustin, and Hinterlong opposed.
It’s seemed like a foregone conclusion for months after multiple council members said they would vote with the majority of a March referendum that showed 53% of voters were in favor of recreational sales.
“I do see the referendum as something that is absolutely we should be using to guide us in our decision-making,” said Councilwoman Judy Brodhead. “And I’m doing that and I’ve said from the beginning that that would be very important to me.”
Permitted vs. Conditional Zoning
The businesses will be permitted by right in business and industrial zones, meaning a hearing is not required before granting permission to move in, as would be the case with conditional zoning.
Councilman Kevin Coyne, who opposes adult-use sales in Naperville, made a motion for conditional zoning, but that was substituted out for permitted by right.
“The referendum barely passed, there’s clearly thousands of our residents very deeply upset about the prospect of these coming to town, and to allow these by right without them being afforded the ability to voice their concerns, to me is somewhat offensive,” he said.
Besides limiting the number of dispensaries, they’ll also need to be at least 250 feet from residential property, 1,000 feet from primary and secondary schools, and one mile from other dispensaries. Naperville’s medical cannabis dispensary 3C Compassionate Care Center is expected to convert their facility for both adult-use and medical purposes.
Lots of Discussion
The dais has spent dozens of hours debating the issue over the past fifteen months since Governor J.B. Pritzker introduced the bill that would legalize recreational cannabis in Illinois.
“I think that the very in-depth deliberation that we’ve been through and the amount of shaping and forming of this ordinance that we have made on virtually every category has been thoughtful and considerate of both sides of this vote,” said Mayor Steve Chirico.
In the new business part of the meeting, Chirico proposed reevaluating an earlier decision to ban other cannabis-related businesses like testing labs and shipping companies. He said they’re less controversial than the dispensary and would bring more commerce to the city.
Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.
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