GIS Assists in Locating Permissible Areas 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 City of Park Ridge 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 a number of tools available in the GIS software, four maps were created for this project. The first map displayed locations for potential cultivation centers. Due to the 2500 foot restrictions described above, every inch of Park Ridge is considered "off limits" to a new cultivation center being built. The second map showed locations for a potential dispensary. Since the restrictions for opening a dispensary are not as restrictive as a cultivation center, a number of potential locations were identified. The city then wanted to narrow down the possible zoning districts where a dispensary would be allowed into the B2 and B3 districts. Maps were created to show the potential locations that fell within these two zoning areas. Using this information, the City of Park Ridge can now determine any potential areas for a dispensary and plan accordingly.