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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Draft Rules for Medical Marijuana Available for Comment

Last year, the Illinois General Assembly adopted legislation that legalized medical marijuana, effective January 1, 2014.  Full implementation of the law is waiting the adoption of administrative rules by the  Departments of Financial and Professional Regulation, Revenue and Agriculture. Last Friday, those Departments each posted draft rules relating to medical cannabis, all of which can be found at this here. Comments on the draft rules are open until February 27.

While it will take some time to digest all of these proposed rules, there is at least one provision in the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation's draft rules that should be of immediate interest and concern to municipalities:

Section 1290.298 Zoning Rules Related to Dispensary

No local municipality or jurisdiction shall seek to impose or impose through zoning ordinances, including by special use permits, conditions or requirements that conflict with the Act or this Part, that concern or address issues or subject matters that are within the regulatory jurisdiction of the Division, or that would otherwise impede or place unreasonable restrictions on the location of dispensaries contrary to the mandate of the Act that dispensing organizations shall be geographically dispersed throughout the State to allow all registered qualified patients reasonable proximity and access to a dispensing organization. (Section 115(a) of the Act.)

While the language of this proposed rule does not completely preempt local zoning of dispensaries (in fact, the draft rules acknowledge that applicants for a dispensary or cultivation center must comply with local zoning requirements), the draft rule does limit the scope and extent of local zoning that might "otherwise impede or place unreasonable restrictions" on the location of dispensaries inconsistent with the state's mandate that dispensing organizations be geographically dispersed throughout the state.  The Department may be trying to prevent a situation where most if not all municipalities located within a particular region adopt zoning ordinances that ban or "zone out" dispensaries, resulting in patients in that particular region being under served.  

Of course, these rules are still in draft form, and could certainly change prior to publication. We will keep you posted on the draft rules, and report back when final rules are adopted.

Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf, Ancel Glink


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