Guidelines for recreational marijuana released

FREEPORT (WREX) — Recreational marijuana will soon be legal in Illinois and for municipalities, that means reviewing the new guidelines before making a decision.

The city of Freeport was recently given the new guidelines for the legalization of marijuana from the Illinois Municipal League (IML).

“They (the IML) draft model ordinances when tough legislation comes out and they drafted two ordinances for cities dealing with adult cannabis,” Freeport city manager Lowell Crow says.

This is what the guidelines say:

  • A facility may not be located with 1,500 feet of a school, daycare, nursing home, or residence.
  • A facility cannot be located in someone’s home.
  • A facility can’t sell food.
  • Marijuana may not be smoked or consumed on the premises
  • Marijuana may not be transported or delivered. It is only available at the facility.
  • A facility must have security cameras, adequate lighting and other specific safety modifications based on the facility’s floor-plan.

Proponents of marijuana dispensaries, like Kristen Velasco of the Illinois Women in Cannabis, says while she isn’t necessarily concerned about the guidelines, she does say it sends a clear message.

“It does infer that there’s a negative element with cannabis consumption,” Velasco says.

Freeport will have its first meeting to discuss the marijuana business in town on September 9. Other municipalities will have that conversation soon enough and it’s for one very important reason. State law leaves the decision of whether or not to have a marijuana businesses in a municipality up to the municipality’s elected officials. As the deadline to legalization approaches, municipalities will have to make that decision quickly.

“They’re sort of in a scramble to decide what they want to do and government doesn’t go very quickly, in that they need to have public meetings and public forums to decide how the citizenry wants to move forward, so they have to decide very quickly,” Velasco says.

Although the state has given each municipality the discretion to make the decision on whether or not they want a marijuana business within the city’s limits, certain cities, like Rockford, would be given first-priority-status. Any city with a medicinal marijuana business that is already established prior to any recreational marijuana facilities, would also be given the same status.

But the decision remains with municipalities on how they’d like to move forward over the coming months.

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