Can a pleasant suburb like Naperville have medical marijuana facilities?

Naperville officials are looking into how to regulate future medical marijuana facilities in their community:

Naperville will begin considering zoning regulations for medical marijuana businesses Tuesday night as councilmen review staff recommendations to limit such facilities to industrial parks, set a distance requirement from residential areas and require all medical marijuana operations to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis instead of allowed outright.

The proposed zoning code updates, which also would prohibit medical marijuana cultivation centers or dispensing organizations from opening in downtown and general commercial areas, are set to be considered during a council meeting at 7 p.m. in the municipal center, 400 S. Eagle St…

Naperville’s possible zoning changes are in addition to state restrictions that say cultivation centers cannot be within 2,500 feet of the property line of a school, day care center or residential area, and only one can open in each of the 22 state police districts statewide…

He said keeping dispensaries out of downtown and allowing only one in each strip mall or collection of buildings under the same ownership will help prevent the new businesses from being too widespread…

“The dispensaries are more like a pharmacy and should be allowed in retail areas,” Chirico said. “Legal, prescribed medication shouldn’t be restricted to an industrial park.”

It will be interesting to watch how wealthier suburbs treat medical marijuana facilities which are legal but probably not very desirable in these communities. Are the dispensaries better or worse than tattoo parlors? (If I had to vote, I’d go with better.) The interest in putting a dispensary only in industrial areas certainly would help keep it out view and away from impressionable people.

But, I could imagine a scenario where a resident of such a community is able to effectively tell how they need the marijuana to relieve pain from a life threatening illness and they don’t want to be made to feel like a ne’er-do-well in their own suburb. Telling that story in the right setting might make the community leaders and residents look uncaring and callous.

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