Using GIS to Identify Potential Locations for Medical Marijuana Distribution Facilities


 The City of Lake Forest’s City Manager’s Office recently requested that
GIS construct a map identifying potential locations for medical
marijuana distribution facilities. There is currently a bill under
consideration in the state legislature that would allow medicinal
marijuana organizations in the state of Illinois. The bill states that
distribution locations must not be within 2,500ft of a public or private
preschool, elementary, secondary school or childcare facility. City
administration needs to identify potential business locations that fall
outside of this 2,500ft range.

Using GIS, all public and private preschools, elementary schools,
secondary schools and childcare facilities were located and symbolized.
Schools and childcare facilities were also located from surrounding
communities to determine if their location was within 2,500ft of the
Lake Forest municipal boundary. If schools and childcare facilities were
located within 2,500ft of the Lake Forest city limits, the location of
medical marijuana distributor would be impacted. Once all schools and
childcare facilities were identified, a 2,500ft buffer was created
around each location. All non-residential zoning districts were then
added to the map. Now that the 2,500ft buffer was determined and all
non-residential zoning districts were identified, locations of potential
medical marijuana distribution facilities could be determined. All
areas located within non-residential zoning districts and residing
outside of the 2,500ft buffer would meet the criteria of a potentially
housing a medical marijuana distribution facility.

The results of this project allow the City Manager a reliable method of
visualizing where medical marijuana distribution facilities are able to
reside. The City Manager can use this location data to manage areas of
concern and to effectively plan for the future if the bill were to pass.