Medical marijuana purveyors looking for a foothold in the south suburbs likely will look past Frankfort.
The Village Board all but ensured that Monday, voting 5-0 to approve strict zoning rules making it nearly impossible for a cannabis dispensary to locate in town.
"We're sending a message, informally, that we're not catering to this type of establishment," Trustee Todd Morgan said of the zoning law. "It's a message in itself."
A prospective medical pot provider intent on Frankfort would have to find a spot in one industrial area and make sure it's not within 1,000 feet of homes or land zoned for residential construction. Even then, only 10 percent of the building could be used as a sales area and outdoor signs using the words marijuana, cannabis or any slang pseudonym would be prohibited.
"The odds are very, very small that anyone would be able to find a location in town that would qualify under this regulation," Village Administration Jerry Ducay said. "If we don't define that, the assumption is that it's allowed in any commercial district, which we definitely don't want."
Mayor Jim Holland agreed that Frankfort would not want to offer a dispensary the exposure that would come with a location along the main commercial areas of U.S. Route 30 or LaGrange Road.
Holland and Trustee Cindy Heath said they would prefer medical marijuana be controlled by pharmacies, but that's impossible with the drug still illegal under federal law.
State legislators last year voted to make Illinois the 20th state to allow medical marijuana, limiting its use to patients battling 33 debilitating conditions, including cancer, multiple sclerosis and HIV/AIDS. Those with prescriptions will be able to obtain up to 2.5 ounces every two weeks.
The law allows for 22 cultivation facilities and 60 dispensaries statewide, though state agencies still are writing rules that must be in place before any site could seek approval.
Ducay said provisions in the state law already make it impossible for a cultivation center to be located in Frankfort, though the village's new zoning rules go a step further, stipulating that a growing facility be more than 2,500 feet from schools and day care centers. The village has further relegated medical marijuana businesses to industrial properties within an area that stretches from 80th Avenue and Center Road to the east and west and Laraway and Steger Road to the north and south.
"It's fair to note that the state law only allows 60 of these in the entire state of Illinois, and it does not seem likely that someone would pick Frankfort to place one," Holland said. "But, you never know."
Meanwhile, the mayor took snow removal into his own hands last weekend, pulling a 10-hour shift helping clear side streets and cul-de-sacs in a public works pickup truck equipped with a snow plow. He and trustees also praised village staff for their tireless work clearing snow this season.
And while other towns have had to cut back or pony up for new shipments, Ducay said Frankfort won't have to scrimp on road salt between now and spring. The village was able to stockpile salt leftover from last winter.