AURORA, IL — The Illinois Supreme Court is set to end a five-year legal battle over one of Illinois’ most lucrative marijuana-growing licenses.
Medponics officials are hoping the Supreme Court will revoke Columbia Care’s license and transfer it to them for their planned operations in Zion. Officials can only award one medical marijuana-growing license in each of the 22 Illinois State Police Districts, with Aurora and Zion in the same district.
Medponics filed a lawsuit in 2015 that alleges Columbia Care — then called Curative Health Cultivation — should not have received the license because it’s breaking Illinois Department of Agriculture rules by operating too close to residential areas.
IDOA rules say growing facilities cannot be located within 2,500 feet of residential areas, which it defines as areas “zoned exclusively for residential use.” Curative’s growing facility off Diehl Road on the East Side of Aurora is located within 2,500 feet of dozens of homes, with residential zones in several directions.
A trial court ruled in Medponics’ favor in 2017, but an appeals court later overturned that decision. Appellate court judges acknowledged Columbia Care’s Aurora facility is within 2,500 feet of residential areas but ruled those areas were not “exclusively residential,” as is prohibited by the IDOA.
The protracted legal battle has drawn in officials from Aurora and Zion, with both cities having large stakes in the outcome due to tax revenues.