Chicago mayor moves to limit medical marijuana dispensaries
CHICAGO (MCT) — Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Ald. Edward Burke introduced a plan Tuesday to limit where medical marijuana dispensaries and growing operations can set up shop in the city after the drug becomes legal Jan. 1.
The proposal would require special use permits from the Zoning Board of Appeals, limit locations to manufacturing districts and establish minimum parking requirements.
"We regulate everything from liquor licenses to how many residences may be built above a certain height, so it makes sense to give Chicago residents some control over where these types of operations can be located," said Burke, 14th.
Burke also introduced a resolution Tuesday calling for a nonbinding ballot referendum in March asking Chicago voters if the state should outlaw firearms in businesses that sell alcohol as part of Illinois' concealed carry law. The City Council passed an ordinance in September to revoke liquor licenses of restaurants that don't ban guns, a move gun rights advocates promised to challenge in court.
Ald. James Balcer, 11th, introduced another proposal for a nonbinding referendum asking Chicagoans whether the state should ban gun magazines with a capacity of more than 15 rounds.
A third nonbinding referendum was proposed by Ald. Anthony Beale, 9th, to ask voters whether cab fares should be increased for the first time in eight years to "bring Chicago's taxi fleet in line with other cities." Cabdrivers have been pushing Beale, chairman of the Transportation Committee, to hold hearings about their desired rate increase, and he said a referendum is the best way to take residents' pulse on the matter.
Asked whether the nonbinding referendum could be used to kill a fare hike, since voters would seem unlikely to vote in favor of an increase, Beale said only, "It gives the people an opportunity to speak."
• Tribune reporter Bill Ruthhart contributed.
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