Amy Connolly medical marijuana Tinley Park

Planning Director Amy Connolly discussing potential medical marijuana rules in Tinley Park. (Gregory Pratt, Chicago Tribune / April 21, 2014)

Tinley Park officials are drafting local regulations for the cultivation and distribution of medical marijuana in the south suburb.

Although the village has not adopted a medical marijuana ordinance yet, Tinley Park officials are considering making any cultivation or dispensing of medical marijuana contingent upon receiving a "special use" permit whereby Tinley sets rules that must be followed by the business, according to Interim Village Manager Mike Mertens.

The village is also considering limiting locations for dispensaries and cultivation to areas zoned ORI (Office and Restricted Industrial) or M-1, which are more manufacturing.

Areas zoned ORI would include the area encompassed by the former Mental Health Center, some land west of the Brookside Marketplace and other locations, while M-1 districts include areas south of 183rd Street and west of 80th Avenue as well as some property around Duvan Drive, according to Mertens.

"We've got more ORI per acreage than M-1," Mertens said.

Mayor Ed Zabrocki said the village is reviewing its options but would not want to be in a position where medical marijuana is present in the village's historic downtown along Oak Park Avenue.

"It looks like there are medical benefits to marijuana, but I'm not sure that as a village we want to see marijuana shops up and down Oak Park Avenue," Zabrocki said.

Zabrocki said he thinks, as the years go by, mainstream pharmacies such as CVS and Walgreens will sell medical marijuana in the store.

Under state law, much of the area Oak Park Avenue wouldn't be eligible for medical marijuana due to restrictions placed on distance from schools and churches, according to Mertens.

Cultivation centers cannot be located within 2,500 feet of the property line of a pre-existing public or private school or day care center, or an area zoned for residential use, according to a memo drafted by the village's attorney.

A dispensing organization may not be located within 1,000 feet of the property line of a pre-existing public or private school or day care center, either, nor can it be in an area zoned for residential use, according to the same memo.

Special use permits can include mandates on a business' hours of operation, lighting, security cameras and other items, Mertens said.

Mertens said he does not believe the village has received any calls from prospective dispensaries but that the village has heard interest from possible cultivators.

Formal options are expected to be brought to the village's Plan Commission by mid-May, Mertens said.

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