back to blog

Chicago might allow cannabis dispensaries in more zoning districts

Published on Aug. 5, 2021 by Steven Vance

Updated on Sep. 8, 2021

Update September 8, 2021: A new version of the proposed ordinance was submitted today to the zoning committee. It removes the B3 zoning district from the proposal, keeps C1, and adds DS zoning districts. It would also allow craft growing in M2 and M3 without a special use approval as long as the property is 660 feet or further from R zoning districts. Via The Daily Line

Block Club Chicago reported earlier this week that Mayor Lightfoot introduced an ordinance to make locations in two additional zoning districts eligible to have a cannabis dispensary. Currently, cannabis dispensaries are allowed in C2, C3, DC, and DX districts, and the ordinance, O2021–3249, would add B3 and C1 districts.

In my interview with Block Club, I told reporter Justin Laurence that, based on my mapping analysis, the proposed ordinance would increase the number of eligible locations by about eight times.

We created the map above for Block Club Chicago’s article to show how much new area would be eligible to have a cannabis dispensary if Chicago City Council adopts a proposed ordinance. The blue areas are currently eligible and the purple areas are eligible in the proposal.

The analysis included commercial and mixed-use properties in the existing and proposed zones that I thought could be easily redeveloped into a dispensary. I excluded vacant and parking lots (since new construction would take too long and is expensive), commercial condos, hotels, and malls.

A cannabis dispensary on Halsted Street in Chicago’s West Loop.

For landlords and dispensary owners, this will make it easier to find a suitable property and reduce the time and money costs of going through a zoning change, all while the “special use” process remains the same.

It’s so easy to look up an address on Chicago Cityscape and, within a minute or two, determine if it’s viable to have a cannabis dispensary there. We’re the only source for maps of where other dispensaries have indicated intent to open in Chicago. Our cannabis features can also help determine if the location could have a cultivation center, processor, or infuser.

In response to this proposal, Chicago Cityscape has made 4 updates to its exclusive cannabis features.

Our Cannabis features require a Cityscape Real Estate Pro membership. Start a free, 7-day trial instantly, request a demo, or get $100 off a new annual membership (through August 30, 2021).

Here’s what we’ve improved for zoning attorneys, commercial real estate brokers, dispensary owners, and building owners:

1. The Cannabis section of Address Snapshot has been updated to highlight the current eligible districts in the normal orange and the additional zoning districts in yellow. See the screenshot below; there are currently very few eligible zoning districts in nearly every part of Chicago, but a lot of proposed additional zoning districts.

Address Snapshot’s Cannabis map, specific to any address in Chicago that you look up, has been redesigned and shows the proposed additional zoning districts.

The same map still shows the locations of schools and other cannabis businesses. In Chicago, it also shows the location of dispensaries where business owners have filed “intent”.

2. We added Restricted Cannabis Zones, so that when you look up an address in an RCZ you will be alerted to that. There are currently only two election precincts where this is effective: 2-42 and 13–13.

The screenshot shows a warning that this Address Snapshot is within a Restricted Cannabis Zone.

3. Lightfoot’s proposed ordinance would also eliminate the seven cannabis districts in the city — which were intended to force the dispersion of dispensaries — and modify the boundary of the downtown exclusion area.

We have added a second downtown exclusion area to the maps so that you can see how the ordinance would affect site selection. Turn on the “Cannabis districts” layer to see the extant and proposed exclusion areas.

4. Locate viable properties by using Property Finder, which has two filters to quickly select all commercial and mixed-use properties in a given area that are in the right zoning districts.

Choose any Place Snapshot — like the Logan Square or Woodlawn community areas and click on the “Property Finder” button. Then set the Property Classes and Chicago zoning filters to the appropriate “cannabis” options.


Chicago might allow cannabis dispensaries in more zoning districts was originally published in Chicago Cityscape on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Other posts by Steven Vance

May 2022

The new Chicago Park District headquarters is under construction

April 2022

The 2022 scavenger sale results are in

March 2022

12 features for spring 2022

What’s up in the West Loop: Cranes

ADU permits trickling in spring 2022

Chicago’s first two-unit modular house is constructed — more are on the way

February 2022

Apply for this new property tax incentive by March 31

January 2022

Efficiently find and prospect Scavenger Sale properties

The next Scavenger Sale starts in February 2022

Data Equity Cohort at the midpoint: recent progress + future improvements

December 2021

Podcast: Spotting Chicago development trends and opportunities

Cityscape’s Top 12 stories in 2021

Chicago hits 21 ADU permits in 2021

November 2021

This architecture firm is doing the most ADU projects right now

Bickerdike plans to expand service area, to develop more eTOD

Where the new construction hotspots in Chicago are

October 2021

Six ADU permits have been issued since May 2021

September 2021

Where the new state-enacted property tax incentive applies

Cityscape has the maps you need to locate where new ARO rules apply

August 2021

What does the 2020 Census data tell us about Chicago and Chicagoans?

Chicago wants to sell four parking lots it owns on the North Side

Chicago might allow cannabis dispensaries in more zoning districts [you're reading this one]

July 2021

The first three Obama Presidential Center permits were issued

June 2021

Cityscape receives grant to launch a “Data Equity Cohort”

See if you have a new electoral district in 2022 with adopted redistricted maps

May 2021

110 property owners have told City Hall they intend to build an ADU

April 2021

New maps, data, and filters were added for affordable housing developers and advocates

Find historical imagery for Cook County addresses

March 2021

See Carmin’s future backyard ADU

A new “off-site” ARO townhouse development opens on the West Side

Chicago developers are constructing bigger wood residential buildings due to changes in the code

January 2021

Use new Cityscape tools to grow your ADU business

Cityscape maps updated to reflect new Illinois legislators

Outside the Loop radio shows talks about backyard houses with Chicago Cityscape

December 2020

Cityscape’s Top 12 stories of 2020

Chicago’s ADU ordinance explained in a 4-minute video

Chicago will allow ADUs starting in May — Read our FAQ

City Council to review revised ADU ordinance to apply in pilot areas only

A better ADU rule has the potential to build lower-cost houses on vacant land

Take a tour: Chicago’s first modular house is move-in ready

Chicago prepares a deconversion ban near the 606

November 2020

Chicago readies two North Lawndale sites for sale and redevelopment

Mapping investments in INVEST South/West areas

October 2020

Is COVID-19 affecting Chicago building permits?

September 2020

Commentary: I want an ADU, but the RS-2 exclusion would prevent me from building one

August 2020

Filling a zoned “Pedestrian Street” gap will bring TOD benefits to more blocks

Get a look at new basement ADUs in Bronzeville + 2 other projects

The modular “starter house” in Back of the Yards was assembled

July 2020

Ask Cityscape: Could I build two ADUs at my house?

Here’s what ADU supporters told City Council at the first hearing

Chicago’s ADU ordinance gets a hearing date

May 2020

Chicago’s ADU ordinance was introduced — see what you could build

April 2020

New zoning rules adopted last week

Ordinance would change approval rules for certain industrial uses

Prefab “starter home” is under construction, destined for a vacant lot in Back of the Yards

See what’s in the development pipeline

March 2020

Chicago Cityscape turns 6

New data: How many Airbnbs are in your neighborhood

Ask your alder to support ADUs

Three North Side “Pedestrian Streets” are being combined

Make informed decisions by using your own boundaries

Make informed decisions by mixing your data with Cityscape’s

Chicago’s vacant land problem

February 2020

Metra should add a new station in Humboldt Park

Legalize ADUs across Illinois, lawmaker’s bill says

The one Chicago guidebook you need to read this year

January 2020

Work in industrial real estate? Chicago Cityscape does, too

Let’s keep ADUs in the 2020 news

Cityscape Pro is now available for 1, 2, and 3 month terms

December 2019

Downtown land that Chicago owns is up for sale again — this time thru a sustainable design…

Recreational pot sales start in 13 days

November 2019

Two South Side community hubs are moving forward with investment from Benefit Chicago

Where the ARO units are

October 2019

Where are the cannabis disproportionately impacted areas?