Is Forest Park going to pot?

Medical marijuana dispensaries come to Illinois


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By Tom Holmes

Now that medical marijuana is legal in Illinois, will pot be coming to Forest Park? Will our children have even easier access to the drug? Will a purple haze descend on our village and give everyone the munchies?

None of the elected officials in town chose to comment, but Sally Cody, who as Mayor Calderone's executive secretary and the village's deputy clerk has her finger on the pulse of Forest Park as well as anyone, had this to say about residents' fears:

"I'm of the personal opinion that the general public believes these dispensaries can/will be opening on every corner. I think it would be good for someone to be rational and educational on the subject," she said.

"Based upon my limited knowledge, we have very little chance of ever having this type of operation open here given the restrictions set forth by the State. Oak Park has a better chance, but I doubt they will ever see it come to fruition either," Cody added.

Commercial realtor David King has made it his business to keep up with the new legislation and has compiled a ten page archive of articles on the issue including the legislation itself, which he shared with the Review. The legislation, known as The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program and which started in January, places severe restrictions on where Marijuana can be grown and sold.

The legislation states, "A dispensing organization may not be located within 1,000 feet of the property line of a pre-existing public or private preschool or elementary or secondary school or daycare center, day care home, group day care home, or part day child care facility. A registered dispensing organization may not be located in a house, apartment, condominium or area zoned for residential use."

It goes on to say, "A dispensing organization is prohibited from acquiring cannabis from anyone other than a registered cultivation center. A dispensing organization is prohibited from obtaining cannabis from outside the State of Illinois and can only be sold to registered users."

King pointed out that the State has allocated only 22 licenses for the cultivation of cannabis and 60 licenses for dispensaries to sell it. In fact, Leyden, Norwood Park and Proviso townships together have only been allocated one dispensary. King did the math. "With 26 villages located in these three townships," he said, "the chance of getting a dispensary in Forest Park is one-in-26."

In addition to the restrictions imposed by the law, individual villages can pass zoning ordinances further limiting the locations where pot can be sold. An article in the March 19 edition of the Wednesday Journal concluded, "Practically the entire village of Oak Park would be off limits when it comes to distributing recently legalized medical marijuana under a proposed ordinance going before the board of trustees next week." 

The only place a dispensary could legally go would be within a block of Rush-Oak Park Hospital on Harlem Avenue.

Crain's Chicago Business reported that in addition to all of the legal limitations imposed by the law. "The entrepreneurs who aim to profit from the law face another big challenge: finding places to grow and sell it."

The explanation, according to the article, is that property owners are afraid that tenants and neighbors might be upset if they rented space to a cannabis dispensary even though it would be in a non-restricted area. A good example of how nervous merchants are about having anything to do with medical marijuana is a call the Review made to the CVS on Circle Ave. When the reporter called the pharmacy asking if it would be selling medical marijuana, the person cut the reporter off mid-sentence saying, "We don't have any of that" and slammed the phone down.

From all of the evidence, the likelihood of a cannabis dispensary locating in Forest Park is almost as slim as correctly filling out all the brackets for the NCAA basketball tournament.

Reader Comments

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Sybil from Forest Park  

Posted: April 9th, 2014 2:58 PM

I am Really unhappy and will not B Glad if pot comes to Forest Park. This will not be a town treasure and I don't think other people have a right to an opinion on what is a town treasure. On this issue I will be the town's Watcher.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: April 8th, 2014 3:15 PM

Actually, Really, I thought that was a pretty humorous take on the two issues.

Really from Forest Park  

Posted: April 8th, 2014 2:56 PM

Will the CVS have VG or just POT or both? Hey idea; let's have a VG parlor with a POT dispensary in it, and then sell Twinkies and Doritos @ 4 time the cost? NOW that will be a true treasure in FP! LOL Sorry I am just adding a little humor to the topic. And before Bill you say that I don't give my views? again VG I don't care and for POT if thier legal I don't care. Just one voice.


Posted: April 8th, 2014 1:25 PM

No, but the article clearly says they called the CVS on Circle. One would assume policy on a topic such as this would not be dictated by employees at the local store, but at the corporate level. Review used that call to generalize "how nervous" merchants are. I have a hard time interpreting that call as a representative sample of merchants. Doesn't even belong in the article.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: April 8th, 2014 9:51 AM

So, Gone, you simply surmise who the FPR spoke with at CVS, then criticize the article based on your unconfirmed assumption. I'd say that's not really the ideal way to form an opinion.


Posted: April 8th, 2014 9:23 AM

Ok, so the Review called a local CVS and most likely spoke to the person running the cash register. Not really the ideal person to ask about their policy/intentions with respect to this topic. Maybe a call to corporate HQ would have made more sense.

Really from Forest Park  

Posted: April 7th, 2014 11:33 PM

Could the FP dispensary have VG in them? ... lol

Sharon Daly from Forest Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 7th, 2014 9:51 PM

i read that 'high grade reefer' is a fine thing, very free market and has an app for every free marketer's need. see: California so we're down to gambling, guns and reefer. what a news week :)

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: April 7th, 2014 9:32 PM

No, Djeena. They don't trust the people who aren't ill who want high grade reefer. C'mon. Ever read the newspapers?


Posted: April 7th, 2014 8:38 PM

Typical rudeness by CVS...anyway, I am surprised at Oak Park drafting such an ordinance. Why all the fear? Do they not trust ill people?

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