The "gold rush" of medical cannabis sales in Illinois is expected to start next year, and village government is doing the groundwork that could enable a dispensary to operate in Homewood.
An ordinance amending the village zoning ordinance to designate "medical cannabis cultivation centers and dispensing organizations as a special use in the limited manufacturing zoning district and providing specific standards governing said use" was on the village board's agenda at its June 24 meeting.
The measure was tabled so village staff could do additional research.
Homewood Mayor Rich Hofeld said in an email message last week that he expects ordinance MC-910 Medical Cannabis Cultivation Centers and Dispensing Organizations to be on the agenda again in August.
In the meantime, at least one potential dispensary operator is interested in establishing a business in Homewood.
Mike Graham of Mother Earth Holistic Health and Joy Grainge of Medical Cannabis Education Association stopped by Village Hall Saturday, July 19, to discuss their plans with Hofeld.
If Homewood's zoning ordinance amendment is approved and he's able to obtain access to a facility, Graham said he would seek permission to establish Patients Health Center.
They said Homewood's transportation assets — located on I-80 and the Metra line — are what make the village a top choice for a dispensary.
Graham told Hofeld he is aware the zoning ordinance, like the new state law, will be restrictive.
"We're fine with the restrictions. We helped write them," he said, referring to the state's Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act. "We don't want to be Colorado. Strictness will protect against abuse."
Colorado has had a medical cannabis law since 2000, but in 2013 the state adopted a recreational cannabis use law.
"Sometimes people forget we're not recreational users," Grainge said. "We want to be respected as patients."
Graham said he has been advocating medical cannabis legalization for a decade, motivated by his own experience with pain reduction drugs prescribed for his back problems. He said drugs have caused serious health problems, from nausea to heart problems. He said he has made hundreds of trips to Springfield over the years to meet with lawmakers and lobby for medical cannabis legalization.
Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act (Illinois legislature)
Frequently Asked Questions (Illinois Department of Public Health)
Quinn signs bill OKing medical pot for adults, kids with seizures (Chicago Sun-Times, Monday, July 21, 2014)
Contact Eric Crump at [email protected]