Next Steps for Medical Marijuana in Kane County

Next Steps for Medical Marijuana in Kane County


You can learn more about the next steps for the regulation of medical marijuana in Kane County at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, May 14, when Development and Community Services Department Director Mark VanKerkhoff presents an update at the County Development Committee meeting.

The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act creates a highly-regulated, very limited four-year medical cannabis pilot program for the state of Illinois. Under the program, patients with specified debilitating conditions and a Department of Public Health-issued registry identification card could possess a limited amount of cannabis for their medical use.

Patients and caregivers can not cultivate the cannabis under the pilot program, and instead would obtain it from one of up to 60 highly regulated dispensing organizations throughout the state. Those dispensaries would, in turn, obtain the cannabis and edible products with cannabis from one of up to 22 cultivation centers in the state of Illinois.

Furthermore, the cannabis trade is a growing industry that is adapting to demand and developments in technology. To elaborate, aspiring hemp growers need first to apply for a license. This can be a complex process, with considerations such as target markets, compliance requirements and energy costs all taken into account. It would be interesting to see if the great white shark strain makes its way here. For now though, you may have to go to Canada if you want to sample some of that.

Nonetheless, getting help and support from a cannabis consulting service can make the process easier.

The current draft rules still only allow one cultivation center per State Police District 2, which includes Kane, DuPage, DeKalb, McHenry and Lake counties.

Medical cannabis in Illinois would be subject to what may be the strictest regulations in the country, including strict seed-to-sale tracking and monitoring. Medical cannabis is becoming increasingly popular all over the world, for example maryland medical cannabis is a new business which has become extremely successful in the area.

For Kane County government, the challenge is to determine the best methods of regulating the cultivation centers and distribution centers within the county’s unincorporated areas. Municipalities would have to create ordinances regulating the cultivation or distribution of medical marijuana within municipal boundaries.

Most of this information comes from the preliminary medical marijuana handout in PDF form on the Kane County website. To read it, look on the Meetings, Agendas & Minutes page and look for the Jan. 28, 2014, meeting packet. From there, click on Handouts – 14 Jan COW – MedicalMarijuana.pdf.

There are a lot of interesting rules about who can ingest medical marijuana, where that can take place and the qualifying conditions for patients who might be eligible. Basically, you have to be over 18, and a physician has to give approval. To be protected from arrest, a patient or caregiver must have a Department of Public Health identification card. Patients must reapply each year, 45 days before the card expires.

Kane County’s approach to zoning regulations for unincorporated areas will define cultivation centers as an “Interim Special Use” in the F District (Farming), the F2 District (Agricultural Business), the B-3 LI (Light Industrial) District and the I District (Industry.)

Dispensing Centers are proposed be defined as an “Interim Special Use,” as well. Those would be in the RB District (Restricted Business), B1 and B3 Business Districts.

Interim Special Uses would be subject to a public hearing and require County Board approval. They could be limited to five years, requiring renewal, and could be specified to automatically terminate when the State Law expires on Dec. 31, 2018.

Possible Schedule *

  • May 14, 2014 Development Committee – Proposed approach and draft text
  • Early June Zoning Board of Appeals Public Hearing on draft text
  • June 11, 2014 Development Committee – review draft text and public comments
  • July 2, 2014 Executive Committee
  • July 8, 2014 County Board

* Development and Community Services Department Director Mark VanKerkhoff emphasizes that the above schedule is preliminary only.