With the state of Illinois’ new legalized marijuana law taking effect in a few months, Lake in the Hills village staff are weighing effective enforcement procedures for individuals and businesses.
Under the law – which takes effect Jan. 1 – Illinois residents would be allowed to buy and possess 30 grams of marijuana, 250 milligrams of THC in a cannabis-infused product and 2.5 grams of a concentrated cannabis product. Nonresidents would be allowed to buy half of those amounts.
Eligible medical marijuana patients also would be able to grow up to five plants taller than 5 inches within their home without a craft grower license.
At Thursday’s Village Board meeting, Village Attorney Brad Stewart said the smoke-free act will still be fully applicable, meaning smoking or vaping marijuana products still will be prohibited in the same places the smoking of tobacco is. However, the village can’t just rely on this act since marijuana products can be consumed as well.
Although the village doesn’t have the ability to completely prohibit the new law, Stewart said the village could restrict the number of marijuana businesses, their location and their hours of operation. Staff also could enforce reasonable zoning regulations for such businesses.
Stewart said one option communities are debating is setting cannabis businesses as a conditional use.
“If we would choose to allow some of these businesses or all of them, we could restrict the number and their locations, their hours of operations and otherwise generally enforce reasonable zoning regulations, one thing debated in communities is to set a cannabis business as a conditional use,” Stewart said.
“That it is kind of a standard thought and the value of that is that anybody who applied for a business would have to go through the planning and zoning process,” Stewart said. “Planning and zoning would have the ability to recommend conditions upon which we would allow them to get the conditional use and then it would come before the Village Board so it is a more formal procedure.”
However, Stewart said a downfall to this is that a formal procedure may encourage marijuana businesses to set up in neighboring communities that won’t have as much red tape to gain approval.
Trustee Diane Murphy said she would like to see the creation of new zoning requirements before moving forward with whether to make marijuana retailers obtain a conditional use permit.
Several board members also reached consensus on establishing a 2% retailer’s occupation tax on marijuana businesses.
Lake in the Hills Village President Russ Ruzanski said it’s still hard for him to accept where the state is at with marijuana today and he is a little wary about a product that the city of Denver calls a success because the dropout rate in schools has decreased.