ST. CHARLES – The city on Tuesday moved one step closer to allowing the retail sale of marijuana.
St. Charles plan commissioners on Tuesday voted 6-2 to recommend to the City Council's Planning and Development Committee that recreational marijuana dispensaries be allowed as a special use. Voting "no" were Plan Commission Chairman Todd Wallace and commissioner Jeffrey Funke.
As part of the plan commission's recommendation, the dispensaries would be limited to regional business districts and limited manufacturing districts in the city, meaning they would be located away from the city's downtown. Commissioners decided they should not be allowed in community business districts.
In addition, they would have to be located at least 250 feet away from a school, daycare facility or residential uses. The vote followed a public hearing in which people spoke for and against allowing recreational marijuana dispensaries. The hearing was a continuation of a Sept. 17 public hearing on the issue.
At the City Council's Aug. 19 Government Operations Committee meeting, aldermen voted 6-3 to direct city staff to begin the zoning process for two recreational sales facilities, one on the east side of St. Charles and one on the west side. Voting "no" were 2nd Ward Alderman Rita Anne Payleitner, 1st Ward Alderman Ronald Silkaitis and 2nd Ward Alderman Arthur Lemke.
The city's zoning ordinance would have to be changed to allow the retail sale of marijuana. As part of the committee's recommendation, recreation marijuana dispensaries would be allowed as a special use in districts zoned for community businesses and regional businesses and that no more than two dispensaries could be located in the city – one on the east side and one on the west side of the Fox River.
In addition, businesses must have operated a licensed medical marijuana dispensary for at least two years. On-premise consumption lounges and production and distribution facilities would not be permitted as part of the committee's recommendation.
Beginning Jan. 1, the law will allow Illinois residents 21 and older to possess up to 30 grams of marijuana per resident. Residents also will be able to possess 5 grams of cannabis concentrate and up to 500 milligrams of THC – the main psychoactive compound in marijuana that gives the high sensation – contained in a cannabis-infused product. Nonresidents can possess half those amounts.
Registered medical marijuana patients will be allowed to grow up to five cannabis plants in their home and possess more than 30 grams of cannabis if it is grown and secured in their residence under certain conditions.