Colorado has legalized medical marijuana and it has found some opportunities and consequences that arise from the legal sales of a long-banned drug. (Anthony Souffle, Chicago Tribune)

Local leaders in far northwest suburban Huntley were taken aback when a man showed up at a Village Board meeting last month and announced he wants to open a warehouse in town to grow marijuana.

"Did you bring any samples?" one of the trustees joked.

Samuel Franzmann has no background in the medical marijuana business. But the Batavia man, who works in information technology for an orthopedics clinic, said he has run a small business before, has investors and is very serious.

Jokes aside, village officials in Huntley were decidedly less enthusiastic.

"At this point, the village doesn't have any interest in the proposal," Village Manager Dave Johnson said. "There are no regulations in place as we sit here to accommodate the use. … The likelihood of it ending up here — there may be better spots (elsewhere)."

A measure that would bring medical marijuana to Illinois is a signature away from becoming law, and Gov. Pat Quinn has indicated he's "very open-minded" about the concept.

And though the proposed law wouldn't take effect until Jan. 1 — with further delays likely as various regulatory issues are sorted out — would-be entrepreneurs in state, as well as those who operate medicinal marijuana businesses in the 19 states where it's legal, are already angling to get in on the potential new market.

That has left some communities scrambling to figure out — sometimes grudgingly — how to accommodate marijuana dispensaries or cultivation operations in their towns, should anyone seek to open them. Legalized pot could also have implications for local police departments, whose officers would have to make new distinctions between those who could legally possess pot and the rest of the populace for whom it would remain illegal.

Experts say the law may have a host of consequences, intended and otherwise, for residents, customers, businesses and police, that will have to be worked out through regulation and, in some cases, litigation.

If the bill as written becomes law, adults who have one of more than 40 specific "debilitating medical conditions" — cancer, multiple sclerosis or severe fibromyalgia among them — could legally buy up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana every two weeks.

The proposal would allow for 22 enclosed marijuana-growing warehouses and 60 marijuana dispensaries to be geographically distributed around Illinois. State agencies would issue patient identification cards and would license and regulate the grow facilities and dispensaries.

Local governments would not be able to ban such facilities outright but could pass zoning regulations to restrict where they could go.

In anticipation of the law, the Lake County Municipal League plans a seminar July 18 addressing how to handle the issue. Several suburbs, including Barrington, Buffalo Grove, Carpentersville, Deerfield, Highland Park and Libertyville, have taken preliminary steps to determine where marijuana facilities could locate.

Grayslake and Mundelein officials plan to hold public hearings within 120 days of the law going into effect to determine how to square marijuana facilities with the village's zoning code.

Fox Lake took steps to limit marijuana facilities to its manufacturing areas, away from the downtown and residential areas.

"No one on the board is opposed to medical marijuana," Mayor Donny Schmit said. "Everybody knows someone who's had cancer or suffered eye disease. We just wanted an area where (suspicious) traffic would be noticed."

Any such facility would be a special use, meaning officials could add specific requirements, like extra security or cameras, as they did with a gun shop in the village.

The proposed Illinois law would limit access to medical marijuana to patients 18 and older. Marijuana facilities would have to be at least 1,000 feet from schools, and smoking marijuana would be forbidden in public places and motor vehicles.

Andy Duran, executive director of the nonprofit Linking Efforts Against Drugs, doesn't believe that goes far enough in preventing new avenues for teens' access. He has lobbied Lake Forest and Lake Bluff to restrict marijuana facilities to the outskirts of town.

"Do you want your home next to a marijuana dispensary?" he said. "I wouldn't. At least our communities would be protected to the fullest extent we can."