Due to recent legal updates and changes regarding medical marijuana laws in the State of Illinois, the Village of Lincolnwood’s Community Development department was looking for a way to be very clear about how these regulations would affect businesses in the community. They approached the villge’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) department to create maps that took into consideration all of the regulations used to regulate location of both dispensaries and cultivation centers. This was done in an effort to get a better understanding of which areas within the village could be potential sites for these businesses to operate.
GIS was able to use the existing community zoning and school data, in conjunction with data from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, to create buffers at the varying distances of restricted zones stated in the law for both dispensaries and cultivation centers. These buffers were then combined and overlaid with village property line data to highlight lots that could conceivably operate a business based on the current regulations. These maps allowed village staff to be better prepared to deal with and answer questions from potential applicants, as well as present a very clear image to the village board about what areas within the village have the potential for dispensaries and cultivation centers to operate in the future.