DANVILLE – With casino proposals due next week and "so many other things" on the city’s plate right now, Mayor Rickey Williams Jr. said a decision on how the city will address the new recreational marijuana law is on the back burner right now.
Resident Vince Koers urged city officials at Tuesday night’s Danville City Council Public Services Committee meeting to start discussions on the issue and be transparent with the public about how the city is going to proceed.
Koers also said the city should add its name to the Illinois cities unwilling to trade 3 percent taxes on marijuana sales for children’s lives. He said “youngsters’ lives will be destroyed.”
Gov. J.B. Pritzker in June signed legislation to legalize recreational marijuana starting next year.
The new law allows adults 21 and older to possess and use marijuana recreationally. They will be able to buy the drug at licensed dispensaries. Illinois residents may purchase and possess up to 1 ounce (30 grams) of marijuana at a time. Non-residents may have 15 grams.
The law also allows cities to tack on as much as 3 percent more in marijuana taxes. Counties also can tax marijuana.
Williams said the city has until Jan. 1 to have regulations in place regarding whether marijuana can be sold and where it can be smoked.
“We have less to say about it than one might think,” he also said.
Williams said he’s received phone calls and emails from others who also have asked the city not allow pot to be sold here.
According to the Illinois Municipal League, “Illinois municipalities may prohibit cannabis business establishments from locating in their jurisdiction by adoption of a local ordinance. IML recommends a public hearing in advance of the adoption of such an ordinance to create a record that supports that determination. While local governments are required to allow medical cannabis dispensaries subject only to local zoning provisions, adult-use cannabis business establishments may be prohibited.
“The first state licenses for adult-use cannabis business establishments are anticipated to be issued to organizations operating existing medical dispensaries, authorizing retail sales of adult-use cannabis at those locations starting Jan. 1, 2020. Municipalities with medical dispensaries operating in their jurisdiction may limit or prohibit adult-use cannabis business establishments through local ordinances, but may want to consider adopting those provisions in order to provide those existing dispensaries clear direction in advance of any application.
The IML also advises “It is recommended that a cannabis regulatory ordinance be adopted as an amendment to (a) municipality’s zoning code or zoning ordinance. In addition to the conditional use authority for authorized adult-use cannabis business establishments, municipalities have the option of authorizing on-site consumption of cannabis and co-location of craft growers, infusers and dispensaries. Among the options municipalities may want to include would be minimum distance limitations between other cannabis establishments, liquor establishments, schools, daycare centers, nursing homes or other uses the municipality deems sensitive.
“Employers may prohibit employees from use or possession of cannabis in the workplace and while on-call, but must have a good faith basis for disciplining employees who appear to be under the influence of cannabis while at the workplace.”
The IML also further recommends local law enforcement officials discuss the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act with municipalities’ legal counsel and local state’s attorney’s office to fully understand the issue and process and to be in compliance with expungement provisions.