A petitioner seeking to open one of a very limited number of medical marijuana dispensaries for the state of Illinois is targeting a Palatine location as a preferred site for the distribution center. The plan was presented to the Palatine Zoning Board of Appeals on Tuesday, September 9th and is currently scheduled to go before the Palatine City Council the following week.
Northwest Medical Distribution is seeking approval to open the dispensary at 400 South Vermont. The building is in a manufacturing area of the village and has no adjacency to residences on any side according to Palatine attorney Kerry Lavelle who represented the petitioner at the Board of Appeals meeting.
Under the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program, the regulating statute in Illinois, the state will grant up to 60 licenses for dispensaries across Illinois, each divided among specific geographic boundaries. Only one is slated to serve the area that would include Palatine, Barrington and Hanover Townships. Northwest Medical Distribution is in the process of applying for a license with the state.
“The state has developed a very structured and controlled method of providing these licenses and the requirements to receive one are quite strict, especially with regard to security of the facility,” said Lavelle. “This location allows for minimal impact to the community and will provide a revenue-generating business to a location in need. It would be a big win for Palatine to secure one of these businesses as they will be very limited and are sure to generate significant tax revenue to whatever town supports the service.”
Estimates provided in the Zoning Appeals brief project an economic impact to the village of $225,000 – $275,000 per year in sales tax, up to $50,000 per year in property tax increases, and the addition of at least 10 to 15 new jobs.
“Nearly 9 in every 1000 Illinois residents suffers from a debilitating disease or condition that can be treated through the medicinal use of cannabis,’ said Lavelle. “Patients with literally dozens of common diseases including cancer, muscular dystrophy, Chron’s, ALS, MS, Parkinson’s, AIDS and so many others may find significant relief from the appropriately prescribed and managed use of medical marijuana.”
Lavelle dismisses concerns about crime or community stature. “Data from around the county shows no correlation to increase in crime or non-medicinal related drug use from this type of dispensary. This will be a legitimate medical business that is certain to grow in the years to come providing the community with significant financial benefit.”
Lavelle also pointed out that while states like Washington and Colorado have received attention for allowing the recreational use of marijuana, the Illinois statute in no way addresses that. “There is a very tight process of checks and balances that will ensure that only legitimate patients with prescriptions from doctors will have access to the supply of cannabis from a center like this.”
The petitioner is asking the Zoning Board of Appeals for a Special Use approval which is required for the location as currently zoned.
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