DuPage County Board Debates Marijuana

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Come January 1, adult-use recreational marijuana will be legal in the state of Illinois.

Marijuana Zoning Regulations

That led to the DuPage County Board’s first major discussion on how the law relates to zoning for potential sales.

They have the options to retain the same zoning restrictions for recreational marijuana dispensaries as there are with medical ones, create new restrictions for them, or opt out completely.

Initial thoughts from the board were mixed.

“There’s a study from Harvard that said that regulated cannabis would raise $106.7 billion and earn $58.8 billion in taxes. So you might tell that I am for doing this in our county,” said board member Sheila Rutledge.

“It’s not certain to me what the landscape is going to be like in six months or even a year on this,” added board member Tim Elliot. “But our understanding on this is in the veto session there will be attempts to revisit some of this legislation. And so I would prefer to see us opt out, at least in the short term to see what our municipalities do, and frankly to see what Springfield does.”

Asking for More Information

Others asked to get more information before taking a vote.

“I share the belief that we need more information,” said board member Greg Hart. “For that reason I suggest that we continue discussions on this matter so that we can have those discussions with the health department in a public forum and have that conversation with the sheriff.”

About Dispensary Zoning

Medical dispensaries require a 1000-foot setback from schools, day care centers, and residential areas.

The board learned from the county’s Planning and Zoning Administration Coordinator that there are three potential sites in unincorporated areas of DuPage where dispensaries could be placed based on that regulation.

Concern for Proximity to School

But one site in particular got board members concerned, as it sits just north of Metea Valley High School’s border.

“I’m stunned to see that we would even contemplate allowing zoning in an area that close to a high school. Whether the regulations are there or not,” added board member Robert Larsen.

Scheduling a Special Meeting

However, the board ultimately agreed to hold a special meeting with law enforcement, finance, and health care professionals before deciding whether to opt in or out.

The DuPage County Board hopes to make their final decision before November.

Naperville News 17’s Christine Lena reports.