Proposed County Zoning Ordinance Makes It Harder to Site a Church Than Marijuana Facilities

I have not read the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) being considered by the McHenry County Board, but member John Hammerand has.

He turned up an anomaly that caught my interest.

Looking at summary pages, he discovered that it is harder to get zoning for a new church than it is for a medical marijuana dispensing facility or a marijuana

Summary of proposed zoning requirements on page with marijuana facilities.

Summary of proposed zoning requirements on page with marijuana facilities.

Summary of proposed zoning requirements for entities on the page that includes churches.

Summary of proposed zoning requirements for entities on the page that includes churches.

His comments on the comparison:

“Whenever two or more are gathered in the name of the Lord, in McHenry County, it will cost $5,000 [plus attorney’s fees] unless it is in an industrial or commercial zone.

“It is beyond me to understand why offices, apartments, and even agricultural areas are not zoned for Places of Worship by right.

“I can only guess that there is a statement being made regarding Religion.

“Isn’t the Right of Religious Worship in the Constitution of the United States?

“Are we abridging it?”

Below is an explanation of the initials used on the table:
UDO Zoning district uses


Comments

Proposed County Zoning Ordinance Makes It Harder to Site a Church Than Marijuana Facilities — 11 Comments

  1. I thought you were a libertarian Cal?!

    Cannabis related sales in IL would bring much needed revenue as no other bordering state has enacted such laws.

    We need strict legislation indeed concerning pot shops in the future so we don’t end up like California.

    But it’s a false comparison to pit religion against cannabis groweries.

  2. Maybe “Joe” is attempting to thwart the buildings of Mosques in unincorporated McHenry County?

    If so, this will not stop them.

    Churches should be allowed wherever but I am interested in the definition of Church.

  3. Freedom of Religion is in the First Amendment of the Constitution; marijuana is not.

  4. Police powers is a function of states, not the federal government. You won’t find a Constitutional basis for federal marijuana prohibition in the first place, and without the federal prohibition I doubt as many states would have such draconian regulations of it.
    Furthermore, the 9th Amendment states: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” In other words, there are more rights than just the ones listed in the Amendment section. Many Federalists actually feared The Bill of Rights would be construed that way so that’s why the 9th Amendment was added.
    Constitutional issues aside though, since this actually IS a local ordinance (therefore in sync with the police powers I mentioned), and onto the issue of libertarianism. A real libertarian would not believe the government has any legitimate duty to intervene in actions of consenting adults, even if those actions are self-harming and that would apply to all levels of government. They’d also oppose government regulations making it more difficult for both churches AND marijuana facilities to operate.
    And by the way, there is a finite number of marijuana facilities that can open in the state and that number is 60 (and 21 for cultivation centers)–and the costs are not cheap. “…proof of sizable liquid assets ($400,000 for dispensaries; $500,000 for cultivation centers) is required and there is a hefty nonrefundable application fee ($5,000 for dispensaries; $25,000 for cultivation centers). Once permits are issued, pot businesses must also provide evidence of good-faith money in the form of a surety bond, letter of credit, or escrow account ($50,000 for dispensaries; a cool $2 million for cultivation centers)” (ChicagoMag) It’s not exactly a cake walk.

  5. I think that doing anything that inhibits freedom of religion is contrary to one of the most basic pillars of this society…

    I am not arguing that you may legally chart a way to do so through statue and local regulation….

    I just wouldn’t want to be the one standing on that slippery slope…

  6. I wasn’t saying states or localities had the right to abridge the First Amendment due to police powers.

    Actually, that is not true due to incorporation doctrine.

    The Bill of Rights applies at the state level as well as the federal level.

    I was talking about marijuana.

    Point being, states technically could regulate it, but as a libertarian, it would be inconsistent to call for government intervention at any level in regard to it.

    Also, that a libertarian would look at this situation and come to the conclusion that the government is being too harsh on churches, not that they should be more strict towards marijuana growers.

    They’d want to remove barriers from either one operating.

    I don’t think zoning would be considered abridging the First Amendment though.

    I don’t know a whole lot about zoning laws, but I would imagine if it were some kind of constitutional issue then it would be raised in court by now.

    The First Amendment is really so that government doesn’t treat various religions differently, so that people are free to practice whatever they choose, and so that the government itself doesn’t prohibit or establish a religion (like the Church of England).

    It doesn’t mean a religion is exempt from laws.

    For example, if I wanted to build a church wouldn’t I have to follow building codes?

    It wouldn’t be viewed as regulating religion, but regulating buildings.

    They’re not saying I can’t practice religion, but that if I want to practice religion in a building then that building needs to abide by the same rules that other buildings do.

    And another thing: the legend says, “No letter, or the absence of the use from the table, indicates that use is not permitted within that district”.

    I see a lot of blanks next to dispensaries and cultivation centers, but a lot of C’s and P’s for places of worship.

    So how is harder to get zoning for a church than a marijuana facility?

  7. Our Society was formed on the concept that those having rights also have responsibility.

    Who will be responsible for the medical problems that will surely result from the use of Marijuana?

    The Federal Government will not allow the proceeds from Marijuana sales to be deposited in institutions with FDIC Insurance.

    Where will they bank and how do we know Taxes will be properly paid?

  8. I understand, Joe, but any constitutional issues cannot be raised until the UDO is incorporated into law and a standing to challenge it is established so….

    we are not there yet …..

    I am just thinking that is there were more barriers to build a church versus a dispensary…that would indicate that a religious establishment is more restricted….

    I will be interested to see the final document.

  9. If your interpretation is correct then the article’s heading and basic assumption is incorrect…..

    It would be best to focus on that argument for the purpose of this discourse

  10. John and Jeff, the legend says, “No letter, or the absence of the use from the table, indicates that use is not permitted within that district”.

    I see a lot of blanks next to dispensaries and cultivation centers, but a lot of C’s and P’s for places of worship.

    So how is it harder to get zoning for a church than a marijuana facility?

    “Use is not permitted.”

    That seems pretty straightforward.

    You didn’t respond to that.

    As I have stated, there is a finite number of operations allowed in the entire state, plus the chart says use isn’t permitted (in most of the columns).

    These aren’t going to be all over the place.

    There is talk about one in Lake in the Hills, but that is only if Illinois approves of it.

    I hope they do.

    It will create jobs, help patients, and raise revenue.

    John, if our society is based on responsibility, then if any health problems rise from marijuana then those people who made the choice to use it can take care of themselves.

    If you are alluding to the fact that our healthcare system has become more socialized and using that as an excuse to regulate what people do then you are falling for the nanny state trap.

    Health problems with marijuana are minuscule compared with alcohol, prescription drugs, caffeine, tobacco, and excessive sugar, and I don’t hear many people calling to ban those things.

    The bill that allows medical marijuana in Illinois cites over 30 conditions that is is helpful for.

    Marijuana does more good than harm.

    States that allow its use medicinally or recreationally are some of the healthiest states in the union. If anything, it is more dangerous when it is in the black market.

    1. It can be cut with other substances.

    2. Street gangs tend to be violent.

    The vast majority of people agree that Portugal’s decriminalization program was a success based on drug abuse and overdose rates as well as taking power away from the black market.

    It’s a Schedule 1 Substance because the federal government says so.

    This can be traced back to the paper industry lobbying and xenophobia towards Mexicans.

    To this day it is mostly opposed by lobbyists for treatment centers, pharmaceuticals, and petroleum producers.

    The overwhelming majority of the medical community views this as an injustice since they take the Hippocratic Oath.

    The government itself has patents regarding marijuana for medical use.

    DEA itself owns Marijuana Patent #6630507, yet according to the definition of a Schedule 1 Substance, it has no medical use.

    If what you say about FDIC is true, it’s the government’s fault for not allowing it in the first place.

    Your bad feelings should be directed towards government’s policy towards marijuana, not marijuana itself.

    And isn’t FDIC only required to insure funds up to $250,000?

    When you’re talking about state funds that’s nothing.

    When have you ever heard of a state storing its tax revenue in a bank, that bank losing the money, and the state asking FDIC to cover it?

    By the way, investments backed by the US government, such as Treasury securities, are not covered by FDIC in the first place so I don’t see why it’s necessary to make a fuss over funds generated by marijuana not being covered.

    The idea that money will be sheltered is silly, because right now there is a black market where no money is going to the government.

    What makes you so sure a grocery store or any small business is paying their taxes?

    The answer for everything is simply faith in the IRS and Department of Revenue.

    Not cooperating risks losing your business and going to prison.

    Governments aren’t going to lose money with marijuana if that’s what you’re implying.

    Colorado has raised millions of dollars for schools and their crime rate is down.

    There is no constitutional basis to ban marijuana at the federal level, the state of Illinois has approved of it in certain circumstances, and the majority of people nationally and in this state favor decriminalizing and medicalizing it at the very least.

    The fact that opponents are now misreading charts and dragging religion into the mix creating a false dichotomy between marijuana and church shows the desperation.

    “Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.” ” Genesis 1:29.

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