Less than a week after receiving an inquiry about areas in the village where a medical marijuana dispensary or cultivation is allowed, the Brookfield Village Board unanimously voted to impose a six-month moratorium on accepting or processing applications for such businesses.
Keith Sbiral, the village’s assistant manager and director of planning and building, told village trustees at the May 27 village board meeting that the moratorium was necessary because the village has not yet decided where such businesses should be allowed within the village.
In addition, he said, the state of Illinois is still formalizing its own rules regarding the Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program, which became law on Jan. 1. The pilot program allows 60 dispensaries statewide, and “reasonably dispersed” to allow access by all state residents.
“So far, our ordinances don’t cover this at all,” said Sbiral, adding that the village would have to work to formalize where such businesses will be allowed in the future.
The inclusion of the moratorium as an action item on the village board agenda was something of a surprise. The issue had not been raised previously at a committee of the whole meeting. Trustees voted for the moratorium after about two minutes of staff summary and no debate among one another.
The woman who approached the village about the issue on May 22 said that the moratorium will effectively kill any chance such a business will be located in Brookfield.
“If a community decides on a six-month moratorium, then it’s clearly a community that doesn’t want to have anything to do with a dispensary or growing location,” said Tanya Griffin, a Western Springs resident who said she’s part of a group seeking potential locations for medical marijuana businesses.
Griffin declined to name the group on the record, but a LinkedIn account associated with her indicates she is vice president of Excella, a company that provides compliance consulting services for home health businesses, and Water and Trees, a marketing consulting firm.
Her medical marijuana group is “a group of pharmacists, doctors and owners of health-care companies” like herself.
Griffin’s group sought to open a medical marijuana dispensary on Burlington Avenue in LaGrange, but the village board in April voted to restrict such businesses to its light-industrial area, effectively killing the idea.
“The bottom line is we want to go into a community that will welcome you,” said Griffin. “I think they’re very nervous over [in Brookfield].”
Griffin indicated that her group was interested in opening a dispensary in the Proviso Township portion of Brookfield.
“Brookfield was a natural place,” said Griffin. “We have a lot of chronically ill patients with disposable income that would benefit.”
The reason a moratorium would rule Brookfield out of the equation is the limited number of dispensaries and growing facilities being allowed in the pilot program. According to Griffin, once the state decides on its rules for the businesses — likely later this summer — there will be a 10-day window for applications. Griffin said the competition for the businesses will be intense.
“What a moratorium means is: ‘We’re not talking,'” Griffin said.