Chicago Solidifies Rules on Marijuana Businesses

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Chicago will allow medical marijuana dispensaries in commercial and business districts – including popular tourist and shopping destinations – but bar them from setting up shop in other areas.

The city council’s zoning committee passed rules this week that define where the 13 dispensaries and lone cultivation site allowed in Chicago can locate.

Under the ordinance, dispensaries must get a special-use permit to operate.

As part of that process, each applicant group will be subject to a public hearing before zoning officials, where residents can voice opposition to the plans.

, Chicago Solidifies Rules on Marijuana BusinessesDispensaries can locate in many popular commercial neighborhoods, such as River North and West Loop, but not in manufacturing areas, transportation corridors or mixed-use buildings where residents live.

The dispensaries will have to meet state restrictions as well, including a provision that they can’t locate within 1,000 feet of a school or day care facility.

The city’s rules, however, are much lighter than another plan that would have pushed dispensaries away from the downtown core and into manufacturing areas on the fringes of the city.

Aside from the dispensaries, Cook County – which contains Chicago – is allowed a single cultivation center.

If that center locates in Chicago, it would only be allowed to operate in manufacturing districts under the city’s rules. It also would have to find space at least 2,500 feet away from schools and residential buildings.