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Board OKs Medical Marijuana Zoning; 'Extensive Interest' in Plainfield Dispensary, Officials Say

Trustee Garrett Peck objected to change in code: "Plain and simple, it's illegal."

Credit: Patch file photo
Credit: Patch file photo
If a medical marijuana dispensary or cultivation center comes to Plainfield, the village will be ready — but at least one village board member is not on board.

Trustees on Monday voted to direct the village attorney to draft an ordinance that would amend the zoning code to include regulations for medical marijuana cultivations centers and dispensaries under the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act. 

Under the law, people with illnesses including cancer, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis and HIV can obtain a medical marijuana ID card that would allow them to purchase small amounts of the drug with a prescription.

Village Planner Michael Garrigan on Monday said there is "extensive interest" by groups that would like to bring a dispensary to Plainfield. State law allows for 60 distribution centers for medical marijuana throughout the state — including a maximum of three in Will County and one in Kendall County. The law also allows for one cultivation operation in both Will and Kendall.

With the exception of trustee Garrett Peck, the board agreed to amend the zoning code to allow cultivation centers in areas that are zoned for industrial use. Dispensaries would be allowed in areas with industrial zoning or B-3 (highway business district) zoning.

While Peck said he has no issue with people who have terminal illnesses using the drug to ease their suffering, he balked at amending the code to allow a dispensary in Plainfield — saying it's against federal law.

According to the DEA, marijuana is still classified as a schedule 1 drug on par with heroin or crack and with no medical value.

By passing the amendment, Peck asked whether the village is "thumbing our nose at the federal government" and questioned what would happen if a more conservative administration replaces the Obama administration after the next presidential election.

"The DEA has the full legal potential to enforce this federal law," Peck said, questioning whether local dispensaries could be targeted for raids. "Will this disqualify us for federal grants? I have a problem with this — I think the carriage is in front of the horse right now ... Plain and simple, it's illegal."

Trustee Jim Racich disagreed with Peck, saying the sale of the drug is a medical need, and is well regulated by state law. "We're creating a tempest in a teacup," he said.

Village attorney Jim Harvey said it's really the state, not the village, that regulates medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation centers.

"Our jurisdiction is very small, it's basically land use regulation," he said. "Our role is very small. We're not going to be in the dispensary business, we're not going to be in the cultivation business. We're just doing what the state's allowed us ... We're just not a major player."

Trustee Dan Rippy agreed that the state has the real authority when it comes to medical marijuana.

"We don't even have the authority to pass an ordinance not allowing this," he said.

Under state regulations, dispensaries cannot be located within 1,000 feet of a school, day care facility or group home. Village Administrator Brian Murphy clarified that the rule is from building to building, not property line to property line. The distance for cultivation centers is 2,500 feet.

Once the ordinance to amend the zoning code is drafted, it will go before the village board for a vote.

Watch the June 16 village board meeting on YouTube.
Jim W June 18, 2014 at 01:02 PM
@ Vicky Polito- Okay, I guess I mean ever...
Plainfield First June 18, 2014 at 01:21 PM
Sorry, wrong location. Looks like I just walked into a nuthouse here. You folks are goofs. Grow up already. We have a Country and a State that is in shambles and you just regurgitate the same crap on every post. Children.
Ericus Alanas June 18, 2014 at 01:58 PM
what did fay say about it?
Alexander Rodriguez June 18, 2014 at 02:24 PM
I can't wait till next election round
Frank June 21, 2014 at 09:24 AM
Goofs are those that defend, choose to turn their heads to, or otherwise try to deflect attention away from the actions of bad actors.

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