Ald. Burke to state: Chicago in Catch-22 when it comes to pot sites
BY BECKY SCHLIKERMAN Staff Reporter February 19, 2014 5:30PM
The city is caught in a Catch-22 when it comes to medical marijuana dispensaries, Ald. Ed Burke (14th) has told state officials in a letter obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times. | Sun-Times files
Updated: March 21, 2014 3:33PM
The city is caught in a Catch-22 when it comes to medical marijuana dispensaries, Ald. Ed Burke (14th) has told state officials in a letter obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.
On the one hand, the state has said dispensaries can’t be located in residential areas and they have to be 1,000 feet away from a school or day care center.
But in proposed rules unveiled earlier this month, the state has said it would allow up to 13 dispensaries located all around the city to be sure patients can easily fill their marijuana prescriptions.
“The legislature passed a law that makes it impossible to site these dispensaries within a certain number of feet of certain zoning districts and the planning department has prepared a map which seems to indicate almost all of the city of Chicago is ineligible under state law for locating these dispensaries,” Burke told the Chicago Sun-Times on Wednesday.
The alderman, perturbed by the preliminary rules, said last week that the state didn’t consult city officials about the rules, which dictate the number of dispensaries that should be allocated to particular areas of the city.
In a letter to Manuel Flores, the acting secretary of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation and a former alderman, Burke said it would be “impossible” for the city to comply.
“Specifically, the [legislation], and the proposed regulations mandate distribution requirements . . . which conflict with each other,” Burke wrote.
In a memo to the City Council, Burke said except for O’Hare International Airport, “there is virtually no real estate north of Chicago Avenue that is not limited to residential zoning or is not within 1,000 feet of protected institutions.”
Flores will review the letter and respond to Burke, a spokeswoman said.