[August 26, 2014]LINCOLN - Tonight at the city of
Lincoln Committee-of-the-whole workshop meeting, building and safety
officer, John Lebegue expects to introduce the topic of allowing
medical marijuana growing and dispensing facilities inside the city
limits. His request for the city to consider permitting such
establishments in the Industrial (I-1) and Commercial (C-1) zones of
the city stems from a recommendation made by the Lincoln Planning
Commission on Thursday, August 21st.
At the Lincoln Planning Commission meeting, after learning about
the stringent guidelines set forth by the state members present
voted unanimously to permit the facilities. Commissioners present
for that vote were David Klug, committee chair; Mayor Keith Snyder,
Bruce Huskins, Vic Martinek, Robert Coombs, Cliff Marble, Leo Logan
and Todd Mourning.
During the meeting, Lebegue shared some of the pertinent details of
the state law with the commissioners.
In the state of Illinois there are 20 State Police Districts. The
state will allow only one cultivation center, or growing facility
per district. The law will also confine dispensaries to three per
State Police District.
Lebegue theorized that in Logan County the odds of having a
cultivation center are pretty thin. He said cultivators are already
looking for municipalities that have amended their zoning, and some
in this district including Springfield, already have completed that
He added though, that he has been contacted by one firm that is
interested in Lincoln.
Snyder said he too had been contacted by one firm. Snyder expanded
saying the firm had said it was interested in acquiring a location
near the two prisons on the outskirts of the city. He said the
location is good because the prisons are annexed into the city and
have public water and city sewer already, something the cultivation
center would need.
Lebegue shared that the state law prohibits a cultivation center
from being closer than 2,500 feet to a preschool or elementary
school, or secondary school, daycare, or any area zoned for
residential use. Because of this Lebegue said the only parcel
currently within city limits would be located near the Sysco
warehouse on Fifth Street Road.
Lebegue and Snyder both pointed out that there are areas on the
outskirts of the city, such as near the prisons that could be
annexed in without much difficulty. Lebegue said the reason the
cultivation centers look for property in the city limits is for the
water. He noted that the Cannabis plants will be grown in a
greenhouse and that the plants consume large amounts of water for
growth. Connecting to the city water supply would be much preferred
In regard to the dispensaries, state law says they may be located in
a commercial zone, with the stipulation they are at least 1,000 feet
from any school. They may not be located in a house or apartment or
any area zoned as residential.
Lebegue said he had studied the state laws, and felt they were
sufficient, so all the city would have to do would be add the
language to the zoning laws, permitting cannabis facilities. He said
in examining this issue, he felt that allowing this new type of
industry would not harm the city, and in fact would generate new tax
revenues that in the end would help the city.
In addition, it was noted that the cultivation centers
typically require about 60 employees. So, if the center were to
come to Lincoln, it could help decrease unemployment in the
During the discussion, Marble said he wanted to hear the mayor’s
opinion on the subject. Snyder said his primary concern was that
of security. He said that he had directed the party that called
him to contact the chief of police and talk to him. Snyder said
he wasn’t sure the Chief (Ken Greenslate) was completely sold on
the idea, but he had raised no serious objections.
Mourning also commented that what the commissioners were
discussing was allowing a legitimate business to come to town.
He noted, “This is not going to be like the guys you see selling
in town, this is a real business.”
Logan commented that if this could be good for the city
revenues, then it was something the Planning Commission needed
to support. He finished saying it would be no different than
allowing a brewery to come into town. However, some thought it
would be a little different.
In the end, the commissioners took the vote to recommend, and it
Outside the meeting, Lebegue made an additional comment about
the Cannabis. He said what the public will need to know and
understand is that Cannabis grown for medical purposes is not
the same plant as is grown for illegal drug use. The plant has
medicinal purposes that have nothing to do with being a
According to a wide variety of sources via the internet, large
pharmaceutical companies are getting behind the development of
Cannabis as a medication. Research is ongoing on genetic
modification of the plant by companies such as Monsanto. Using
genetically modified Cannabis plants, it is hoped that products
may be derived from Cannabis that can be used in medication
compounds. Medical research is showing that Cannabis as a
medication has some significant positive results in the
treatment of a variety of debilitating diseases. The drug has
already proven beneficial in pain management for cancer
patients, and is used to help increase appetite in AIDS victims.