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The business of Illinois

Friday, May 23, 2014

* Tribune

Chicago would become the only city in the state allowed to write its own rules on where medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation centers could set up shop under legislation the Illinois Senate passed on Thursday.

Sponsoring Sen. Kwame Raoul said the change was needed because current restrictions, which say grow centers cannot be within 2,500 feet from homes and schools and dispensaries cannot be within 1,000 feet of those buildings, make it practically impossible for them to locate within city limits due to Chicago’s density.

The proposal was approved 31-18 and now goes to the House. Opponents argued city officials should not be given so much leeway, pointing to a history of corruption and botched deals.

“You’ve got the state completely eliminating any regulations and saying the city of Chicago can do anything it wants, and there has been a history in the city of Chicago of insider deals,” said Sen. Matt Murphy, R-Palatine. “Are we comfortable here as a state giving them the authority to say ‘well, I’m an alderman and my friend wants to put this marijuana dispensary next to a school because he can get a great deal?’”

That response is almost pure hyperbole. The new locations would still have to be approved by the state.

And, really, can you imagine trying to trying to find a place in Chicago that’s at least a half a mile in all directions from a house?

* Meanwhile, the Chicago Tribune is rightly impatient about the progress of the fracking regulatory process

Even by Springfield’s standards, this rule-making — the process of turning a law into precise restrictions and permissions — is unusually slow. Mind you, when the rules are finally completed, they have to go back to a legislative committee for a final sign-off.

“It’s important we follow the rules because we don’t want to do something that would invalidate the law in the future,” Natural Resources Department Director Marc Miller told us. “We’re going to do it right. We’re going to do it one time and get it done before the deadline in November.”

Getting it as close to right is, of course, important. Fracking is a controversial process that has to be done carefully to mitigate environmental risks. One reason the rule-making process is taking so long is that environmental groups have flooded DNR with comments and questions. The agency is obligated to respond to them all and finish up the rules by Nov. 15.

Ah, could that be the reason for delay? To push off a controversial decision until after the general election on Nov. 4?

Gov. Pat Quinn was very pro-jobs when he signed this bill, but now that the campaign has started he’s Mr. Green.

* Related…

* Advocates say new marijuana rules will hurt the poor

* Taxicab industry forms PAC to fight rideshare, swing elections

* Here comes the sun: Rooftop solar panels in Illinois get jump-start: The bill, supported both by environmental groups and by the state’s largest power generator, Chicago-based Exelon Corp., is a fallback alternative to an overhaul of Illinois’ clean energy law, which environmentalists say is broken because of changes in the state’s power market that have made it next to impossible to finance new renewable energy projects. That broader effort died earlier this month.

* Chicago unemployment plunges to 7.4 percent

* Push for tax on sugary beverages renewed - A once-dormant plan to impose a one-cent-per-ounce tax on sugary beverages has been revived in the Illinois House.

* Tunney opposes Ricketts revamp on Wrigley

* Home sales down as buyers have less to choose from

- Posted by Rich Miller        


16 Comments
  1. - wordslinger - Friday, May 23, 14 @ 9:16 am:

    You can pick up a bottle of Jack Daniels and a pack of Lucky’s while you wait for your Oxy prescription to be filled at the Walgreens just down the street from an elementary school in my neighborhood.

    I don’t know what physical location of a medical marijuana dispensary has to do with anything.


  2. - PublicServant - Friday, May 23, 14 @ 9:21 am:

    ===“You’ve got the state completely eliminating any regulations and saying the city of Chicago can do anything it wants, and there has been a history in the city of Chicago of insider deals,” said Sen. Matt Murphy, R-Palatine. “Are we comfortable here as a state giving them the authority to say ‘well, I’m an alderman and my friend wants to put this marijuana dispensary next to a school because he can get a great deal?’”

    That response is almost pure hyperbole. The new locations would still have to be approved by the state.===

    You can always count on Murphy to tell the hyperbole, the whole hyperbole, and nothing but the hyperbole. Dope.


  3. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 23, 14 @ 9:22 am:

    Man, that Ricketts video, with the Dopey soundtrack, it’s worth the 7 minutes to actually see how inept a Billion dollar organization decides to “make a case” about a building the kids got Dad to buy, and now complain about that same building.

    First it was “Clark”, then it’s having the Cake Boss…”The” Cake Boss … make a Wrigley Field cake to be found in a dumpster, and now… some Dope has the Ricketts kid who had his family fly all the way from Omaha to Chicago for a graduation ceremony he was not participating in.

    Dear Cubs,

    You told everyone you are a “Start-Up” company; working out of a garage, hiring a vast amount of Staff never needed before, growing pains, whatever.

    Here is a tip. Hire people who understand PR, not people who know how to spell … PR. Your marketing people, yeah, let them find out what the market is for former marketing people with the Cubs on their resume.

    You guys stink at understanding the political, the marketplace, and the image aspect so much, it makes your horrendous baseball team seem… competent. This is coming from a Cubs fan!

    Joe Ricketts got sold a bill of goods from a kid who brags about meeting his wife in the bleachers, and skipped school so much by going to games, that lying to his family about graduation made it till the day itself. I actually feel bad for the Old Man. You do anything for your kids, but sometimes the kids need to learn on their own. Sometimes it cost you money, and some times it cost you hundreds of millions.

    Please, show me something. Dump the marketing and PR heads, get people who really understand the neighborhood, city, state, and fan base, and stop with the “Dharma Initiative” videos. Please.


  4. - A guy... - Friday, May 23, 14 @ 9:27 am:

    === wordslinger - Friday, May 23, 14 @ 9:16 am:

    You can pick up a bottle of Jack Daniels and a pack of Lucky’s while you wait for your Oxy prescription to be filled at the Walgreens just down the street from an elementary school in my neighborhood.=====

    Word, your chores add up on these holiday weekends don’t they? lol. For the record, we’re in complete agreement on this one. Enjoy the weekend.


  5. - MrJM - Friday, May 23, 14 @ 9:28 am:

    And, really, can you imagine trying to trying to find a place in Chicago that’s at least a half a mile in all directions from a house?

    Related (map): http://stopthedrugwar.org/speakeasy/2009/oct/08/1000_feet_everywhere

    – MrJM


  6. - Goooner - Friday, May 23, 14 @ 9:39 am:

    Those restrictions are ridiculous.

    I live in Streeterville. I’ve never used marijuana (for medicine or otherwise).

    However, I would have no problem at all if Northwestern Hospital dispensed it along with thousands of other drugs it dispenses.

    If a hospital provides treatment for cancer, patients should be able to get all their drugs at the hospital.

    Making cancer patients trek someplace else for medicine prescribed by a physician is simply cruel.


  7. - Percival - Friday, May 23, 14 @ 9:41 am:

    It is becoming more and more obvious that Democrats across the country are turning to environmentalism as a major campaign issue in the coming election. I’m not sure how much that issue will move needles, but they are short of viable issues.


  8. - Union Man - Friday, May 23, 14 @ 9:57 am:

    Ricketts Family owns the Cubs. Just put a dome over the park and open it on sunny days. The roof top owners are just leaching off the Cubs organization. 2023 their out of business any way!! Quit your crying.


  9. - wordslinger - Friday, May 23, 14 @ 10:00 am:

    Willie, Julian Green is supposed to be running the communications shop for the Cubs. He worked for Obama, Daley and the Park District in the past.

    But that midnight video was just weird. Hard to figure how a billion dollar operation keeps getting rolled by some rooftop owners.

    Those rooftops aren’t drawing anymore, so it’s not like they’re flush with cash. Who needs the rooftops when there are plenty of empty seats in the park?


  10. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 23, 14 @ 10:20 am:

    - wordslinger -, thanks .

    It would be very difficult for me to believe, with a pedigree like that from Green, that a soundtracked video showing how pinch hitters warm up to gin up support, was the “good idea” coming from that Shop.

    It felt like a YouTube spoof of some kids begging someone to renovate their tree house because Mom and Dad spent that money on a 4 day Vegas trip.

    The Cubs, according to reports, had the largest profits in the last few years, and they produce that video crying “foul”?

    Lastly, if you are going to “Brag” about self-financing all these changes, then do it already with what is already NOT in dispute and be done with it. I neither have sympathy of am impressed. It’s their cash. Being a business, sometimes you need to spend to make. Don’t brag and whine about it in the same breath.


  11. - Toure's Latte - Friday, May 23, 14 @ 10:24 am:

    The “Clean energy laws” need a complete overhaul. Exelon is for revisions that reaffirm eliminating competition from start-ups that will accelerate the cost reductions, and reaffirms prohibitions of positive cash-flow as a feed in tariff being paid directly to homeowners.


  12. - Toure's Latte - Friday, May 23, 14 @ 10:29 am:

    PS- HB2427 was originally written to allow for natural gas aggregation, much like electrical aggregation, and was dumped in favor of this hot mess amendment.


  13. - Ahoy! - Friday, May 23, 14 @ 11:02 am:

    They need to rework the entire bill to allow communities outside of Chicago to have more flexibility with local zoning and set back requirements. As they are currently written they are too onerous for finding a location that is suitable.


  14. - Grandson of Man - Friday, May 23, 14 @ 11:47 am:

    I’m glad to see the good economic news for Illinois, seeing the widespread drop in the unemployment rate.

    “You can pick up a bottle of Jack Daniels and a pack of Lucky’s while you wait for your Oxy prescription to be filled at the Walgreens just down the street from an elementary school in my neighborhood.”

    Exactly. We still have to get over the stigma of marijuana, especially when we compare it to legal drugs like alcohol and pills. We are getting over it, but too slowly.

    What about the marijuana reform bills in the GA? I would like to see some action on them.


  15. - Cheswick - Friday, May 23, 14 @ 11:47 am:

    I’m sort of reminded of when Rod wanted to take senior citizens on a Greyhound to Canada so they could buy their prescriptions for cheap.

    Only instead of Canada, it would be rural Illinois. And instead of on the cheap, it would be for availability. Finally, instead of Rod, it would be Sen. Matt Murphy.


  16. - Abraham Froman - Friday, May 23, 14 @ 1:22 pm:

    DOJ Cole Memo gives guidance to avoid distributing cannabis (medical or recreational) “near an area associated with minors” see footnote #1

    http://www.justice.gov/iso/opa/resources/3052013829132756857467.pdf

    I thought there was more clarity requiring the 1,000 feet (maybe from a CA case) but haven’t been able to find the actual quote or language.

    A cultivation center in Chicago isn’t necessary, but the dispensaries are and making them more accessible is important for allowing patients to acquire the medicine safely. There was already language in the draft rules allowing for a request for a variance to the feet restrictions for applicants looking for licenses in municipalities with a population over 2,000,000 but perhaps this bill will clearly give the Chicago city council the power they felt was usurped. . .


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