GIS Assists in Determining Potential Locations for Medical Marijuana Facilities

The state of Illinois recently enacted a law that legalizes medical marijuana. This highly controversial law has forced communities around the state to scramble to determine where potential areas are located where it’s permissible for an individual to open a dispensary or a cultivation center. State law requires that a cultivation center cannot be located within 2500 feet of a school, daycare center, or any residential zoned property. A dispensary cannot be located within 1000 feet of a school or a daycare center, or within a residential zoned property. In order to determine these locations, the Village of Glen Ellyn utilized its Geographic Information System (GIS) to determine where permissible areas for these locations might be allowed in the city under the new law.

Using multiple tools provided by the GIS software, a number of maps were created for this project. The first map showed potential locations for the creation of cultivation centers.  Due to the law’s heavy restrictions on cultivation centers, the entire village is a restricted area for this type of development, which was easy shown by the final map product.  The second map showed potential locations for the creation of dispensaries.  Since the dispensary restrictions are not as limiting as the cultivation center restrictions, this map displayed a number of locations around the village that were permissible for this type of development under the law. Taking that into account, individual maps for areas within the proper commercial zoning district that were permissible for a dispensary were created to highlight each possible location. This was done not only to show the affected areas in greater detail but also to show how these restrictions could potentially divide parcels between being permissible or not permissible for development.  Currently, if part of the parcel is restricted, the entire parcel is restricted, even the portion outside the 1000 foot buffer.  

A custom overlay was added to the village’s web mapping application, MapOffice™, which displays all the prohibited areas and is available for use by all village departments.  This allows for staff to quickly search for an address to see whether or not it is a potential dispensary location.   Having all this information available in an easy-to-use, spatial application can assist in potential dispensary permit planning down the road.