July 30, 2014

City Council Passes Ordinance Amendidng Municipal Zoning Code Regarding Medical Marijuana Dispensaries, Cultivation Centers



Mayor's Press Office




City Council today passed an ordinance, introduced by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Alderman Edward Burke, amending the Municipal Code to create definitions in the Zoning Code to address where medical marijuana cultivation centers and dispensaries may operate.

“Protecting the health and well-being of Chicago’s communities is our number one priority,” said Mayor Emanuel. “This ordinance ensures that patients in need are able to conveniently access medical marijuana dispensaries while minimizing the possibility that Chicago residents are negatively impacted by the legal sale of medical marijuana.”

“The zoning ordinance approved today will allow our communities to be engaged and have a voice in the process of locating these businesses. It is a far better process than what was originally proposed by the State,” said Alderman Ed Burke.

Dispensaries can be located in most business and commercial zoning districts and downtown service and mixed use districts as long as no residential units exist in the building. Dispensaries are banned from manufacturing districts, transportation corridors and many areas that are zoned for a mix of homes and smaller businesses.

Zoning for cultivation centers is modeled after zoning for urban farms and is limited to manufacturing districts or Planned Manufacturing Districts (PMD). Cultivation centers must be at least 2,500 feet from any school, day care center or dwelling unit.

Both dispensaries and cultivation centers must obtain a Special Use Permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals, ensuring a transparent and public process.

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