Macomb approves recreational marijuana sales

MACOMB, Ill. (NEWS3) — Illinois is less than three months away from legalizing recreational marijuana and Macomb city leaders have decided they will allow sales in city limits.

Macomb City Council unanimously approved the sale and zoning regulations for adult-use cannabis within city limits during Monday night’s meeting.

According to Macomb’s ordinance, a dispensary or cultivation site is prohibited within 100 feet of a school, church or residential area. No one under the age of 21 is allowed in a cannabis facility without a parent or guardian. Also, cannabis can not be consumed on those sites, including parking areas.

The city allows for a cannabis cafe or lounge to be opened with a special use permit from the city. A dispensary is not allowed to be open no earlier than noon on Sundays.

Aldermen unanimously agreed to collect a three percent sales tax for cannabis purchases in September that will go into the city’s general revenue fund.

The options for what the city and county can control with cannabis sales are different. While the city has set its decisions in place, the county is still trying to understand what it can do.

McDonough County officials have pushed back their discussions until more becomes clear.

During last week’s McDonough County Board meeting, members voted to send the measure back to the committee level.  The county also must vote to decide if and how much they want to tax the sale of cannabis. The discussion will continue at November’s meeting.

County officials can decide to opt out of allowing a pot business to set up shop in unincorporated areas of the county. The board can also collect up to 3.75 percent of a sales tax on top of what would automatically come from local governments.

It will still take at least another year before a cannabis company could set up shop within the city or county due to a limit on license distributions from the state. Macomb Mayor Mike Inman said about a handful of potential businesses have expressed interest in starting up a shop in Macomb.

Current medical dispensaries will be able to become recreational shops. A cultivation center is in Vermont and medical dispensaries are located in Canton and Quincy within the west central Illinois region. Only three adult-use cannabis licenses will be issued in the region in addition to the medical cannabis facilities before May 1, 2020.

Recreational marijuana will become legal in Illinois on Jan. 1. Adults 21 and older will be allowed to purchase and possess up to one ounce (30 grams) at a time.

Illinois is the 11th state to legalize marijuana.