QUINCY -- In less than four months, recreational marijuana will be legal in the state of Illinois. Cities are reacting differently to the legalization of recreational marijuana.
Some officials in municipalities, such as Mt. Vernon, are begrudgingly voting to allow recreational dispensaries in their communities in hopes the new businesses will generate additional sales tax dollars for the city.
While members of the O'Fallon City Council are in favor of prohibiting sales, they are considering asking voters to weigh in by voting in a referendum election that could be held in either March or November 2020.
Leaders in other cities such as Murphysboro, Naperville, and Grayslake have decided that they don't want to allow marijuana dispensaries in their town.
Other cities, such as Urbana and Rolling Meadows, which is in northern Illinois, have approved the sale of recreational marijuana and opted for the state's maximum three percent local sales tax. The city of Chicago also appears ready to be making a similar decision, according to Crain's Chicago Business publication.
Carbondale, a college town located in southern Illinois, is expected to decide on Sept. 24.
This is the same day that Peoria is expected to decide on allowing recreational sales in the municipality.
It is not just in large cities that the topic of allowing or barring the sale of recreational marijuana, which became legal with the passage of the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, has been a topic of conversation.
According to the Springfield Journal-Register, officials in Jacksonville continue to research the topic, weighing the pros and cons of allowing the drug to be sold there.
It is a similar situation in Beardstown, where officials look to see what course other cities choose to take.
Meanwhile, members of the Quincy City Council are expected to vote on Monday to approve an ordinance that would allow adult-use cannabis dispensaries, adult-use cannabis craft growers, and cultivation, dispensaries, infuser, processing and transportation facilities in the Gem City.
Many of these terms stem from terminology used in the state's new marijuana law. For example, an adult-use cannabis craft grower is an individual or business who has been licensed by the state to have a cultivation facility of up to 5,000 square feet.
Quincy Mayor Kyle Moore has said while he is opposed to the legalization of marijuana, he is concerned that the city would be missing out on much needed tax dollars by rejecting the ordinance.
"I think a lot of us are opposed to it and wish that the state would have made a different decision or at least given some local control on this issue," Moore said earlier this month.
"The fact of the matter is that if we don't zone it here, or tax it here, then, make no mistake, there will be a (recreational marijuana dispensary) business at 77th and Broadway or 77th and State Street. It will be right outside the city limits, and we will still have all of the effects from it whether that is positive or negative, but we won't have any of the tax money coming in."
In its current form, the ordinance allows for adult-use cannabis dispensaries to be in C2 commercial zoning and in downtown zoning districts.
The dispensaries would face a number of restrictions, including not allowing anyone under the age of 21 into the store. The dispensary must also be 100 feet away from nursery schools, pre-schools, primary or secondary schools, day care centers, and home day cares.
The proposed ordinance also prohibits dispensaries from being within a dwelling unit and within 1,500 feet of another adult-use cannabis dispensing facility.
In the proposed ordinance, cannabis craft growers, cultivators, processors and transporters would be able to open their facilities in properties zoned as downtown industrial and industrial zones.
These businesses would also be required to follow the age restriction and to be at least 100 feet away from the aforementioned educational entities. Cultivation and grower facilities can not be within 1,500 feet of another adult use cannabis facility.
According to Quincy Planning and Development Director Chuck Bevelheimer, the proposed ordinance has these requirements to prevent a concentration of these businesses opening up in one area of Quincy.
According to Bevelheimer, the 1,500 feet rule would prevent two adult use cannabis facilities from being within 31/2 blocks of one another.
All adult-use cannabis businesses are barred by the state from placing or maintaining any advertisements of cannabis or a cannabis-infused products in any form within 1,000 feet of a school ground, a playground, a recreational center or facility, a child care facility, a public park or public library or a game arcade where admission is not restricted to people 21 years of age or older. Signs for these adult-use cannabis businesses are also barred from using a marijuana leaf.
The proposed ordinance also has had the support of Quincy Police Chief Rob Copley, who said while he was opposed to the legalization of marijuana, he could support the city taking advantage of a new tax revenue source.
"Not allowing it to be sold here is not going to stop it from being sold elsewhere," Copley said. "It doesn't mean that we are not going to see the side effects of it. We are going to see more crashes, with more injuries, and more fatalities. The only thing we won't have is the tax dollars, because if you don't sell it, then you're not going to get any of those tax dollars."