AURORA – City officials look to pass new zoning rules that would affect future medical marijuana dispensaries and growing operations in Aurora city limits.After being issued a state license, those wanting to sell or grow medical marijuana must apply for a special use permit in Aurora. Before applying, the applicant must submit an operations plan, security plan and disposal plan to the city, according to Aurora Planning Director Stephane Phifer.In August 2013, the Medical Cannabis Act was signed into law in Illinois, and took effect in January of this year. Up to 60 medical marijuana dispensing organizations and 22 medical cultivation centers will be located throughout the state, according to the state act.While the state rules provide specific provisions relating to the location of medical marijuana cultivation centers and medical marijuana dispensing organizations, local governments are able to enact zoning regulations that do not conflict with the act, according to Phifer.Under proposed city rules, dispensary patrons will not be allowed to consume marijuana products on site, and dispensary employees must be 21 or older and must pass a criminal background check asserting that they have not been convicted of a felony or have violated city, state and federal liquor and drug rules.Dispensaries will also not be allowed to display marijuana or marijuana paraphernalia on signage and producta should not be visible from outside the store. Drive-through services are also prohibited, under the city’s proposed zoning amendment.Facility hours would be limited to 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.According to state rules, the 60 dispensing organizations may not be located within 1,000 feet of existing school, day care center, day care home or child care facilities. Registered dispensaries may not be located in a house, apartment or an area zoned for residential use.According to state rules, only one medical cannabis cultivation center will be permitted in each Illinois Police District. There are 22 police districts in the state.Dispensing and growing licenses are issued by the Illinois Department of Agriculture.A public hearing on the proposed changes to the city’s zoning ordinance was held June 18. No members of the public testified, according to Phifer.Aldermen will vote on the proposed medical marijuana rules at 6 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 44 E. Downer Place.Tags: Marijuana [embedded content]
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