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Yorkville to discuss rules for medical marijuana facilities

Green Bliss Clinic medical marijuanevaluaticlinic opened 7509 N. Milwaukee Ave. Niles October anticipatinew state law thlegalizes medical pot use starting

Green Bliss Clinic, a medical marijuana evaluation clinic, opened at 7509 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Niles in October in anticipation of a new state law that legalizes medical pot use starting Jan. 1. | Natasha Wasinski/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: March 12, 2014 6:08AM

YORKVILLE — Marijuana is not on the verge of becoming one of Kendall County’s cash crops.

But the mere fact that it’s now legal for medicinal use has officials here looking at how to handle a potential request for medical marijuana cultivation and dispensaries.

The Yorkville Plan Commission, at its regular meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the conference room at City Hall, 800 Game Farm Road, will consider making such a request a special use for either type of facility in the city.

The commission will discuss making a text amendment to the zoning ordinance that would require those as special uses, and only in the M-1 Manufacturing District.

Community Development Director Krysti Barksdale-Noble said the discussion is pre-emptive so the city “has something on the books” if a request for either a cultivation facility or dispensary came to the city. She said no such request has come in at this time.

Kendall County is considering doing the same thing, according to Brian Holdiman, code official for Kendall County’s Planning, Building and Zoning Department.

He said the county also has had no requests, but Senior Planner Angelo Zubko recently brought up the possibility of Kendall County discussing a similarly pre-emptive change in the county’s zoning ordinance.

“We would probably look at it,” Holdiman said.

Medical marijuana became legal in Illinois at the beginning of the year, and state and local officials have been scrambling on how to deal with the new facilities when they start to come in.

About three weeks ago, the Illinois Department of Public Health unveiled proposed rules for how medical marijuana will be regulated in Illinois. Right now, it is considered a pilot program and will run for four years.

Among the proposals is that medical marijuana users would need to pay a $150 yearly fee to participate in the program. They also would get a special photo ID, get fingerprinted, undergo a criminal background check and give up their right to own a gun.

To qualify for medical marijuana, you must be an Illinois resident, at least 18, with a qualifying medical condition — one of more than 40 conditions including cancer, AIDS and glaucoma — and must have a signed medical recommendation for the use of medical cannabis.

The state Department of Public Health took public comment on the proposals through Friday. It will submit recommendations to state lawmakers by the end of April, then have another public comment period.

Patients probably will not begin applying until September for medical marijuana.

The Department of Financial and Professional Regulation and Department of Agriculture are still working on rules concerning the state’s marijuana cultivation centers and dispensaries. Those rules will be posted online as soon as they are available.

Barksdale-Noble said it is likely that if someone applies to the state for a marijuana cultivation or dispensary license in Yorkville or Kendall County, local authorities will know before the applicants come in.

“We would probably hear from the state first,” she said.

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