Two new City of Peoria ordinances regarding pot cultivation centers are more about keeping some local control than they are about an endorsement of Illinois’ medical marijuana pilot program.
The City Council voted 10-1 on Tuesday to amend zoning and land development laws to state that, if a cultivation center were to come to Peoria, it would only be built in an area already zoned for industrial use. Without the changes, state law would be the only guideline as to where a pot production facility could go.
Councilman Chuck Weaver was the lone “no” vote. He worried the changes would be seen as the city signing-off on the medical marijuana program, something he disagrees with on principle.
"You can't condone what you don't condone," Weaver said. "We're heading down a path. First it's a medical marijuana cultivation site, then it's a dispensary, and I'd be very surprised if it doesn't end up being okay for recreational use."
City staff argued that the amendments were not an invitation for a cultivation center, but rather a way of ensuring local officials at least had some say in the matter.
Under state law, only one cultivation center is allowed per Illinois State Police District. In District 8, which includes Peoria, the cities of Pekin and Delavan have shown an interest in getting one. Ultimately, state officials will decide where each of the state's cultivation centers will be placed.
The state will begin accepting applications for all medical marijuana-related licenses next month.