Aldermen demand security and loading controls for medical pot

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Chicago’s medical marijuana cultivation centers and dispensaries would be required to hire around-the-clock security guards and load and unload pot out of public view, under a pre-emptive crackdown proposed Wednesday.

Even before the growing and selling is up and running, Finance Committee Chairman Edward Burke (14th) and Zoning Committee Chairman Danny Solis (25th) want safeguards in place to protect the public.

“We want to make absolutely sure these products are properly protected and that these cannabis-infused products are not out in public view,” Burke was quoted as saying in press release.

Solis said dispensaries and cultivation centers would have to demonstrate compliance before being granted a special-use permit by the Zoning board of Appeals needed to set up shop.

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The ordinance introduced at Wednesday’s City Council meeting would require dispensaries and cultivation centers to “retain the service of an Illinois licensed private security contractor” and to maintain those guards “24-hours-a-day, seven days-a-week.”

It further requires that “transportation, loading and unloading of cannabis or cannabis-infused products shall be conducted under the supervision of” that licensed security contractor. Loading and unloading would have to be done in a “secure loading area and shall not be visible to the general public” especially from a sidewalk or public right-of-way.

In January a state law took effect paving the way for 13 Chicago dispensaries as well as designated cultivation centers.

Burke has repeatedly bemoaned the lack of local control.

The state, which is now considering who will be granted the 60 dispensary licenses throughout the state, of which 13 will be in Chicago, isn’t just basing its decision on the business proposal, a spokeswoman said.

State officials also will consider whether each applicant is “of good character, honesty and integrity” and “whose background, including criminal record, reputation, habits and social or business associations, does not discredit or tend to discredit public confidence and trust in the Illinois medical cannabis industry,” state records show.

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