Adult Use Cannabis Meeting, October 28

Village Board to Discuss Adult Use Cannabis, October 28
Posted on 10/24/2019
Adult Use Cannabis

Village Board’s Consideration of Adult Use Cannabis
The Village Board will hold its second discussion on the sale of recreational cannabis for adults on Monday, October 28 at 7 p.m. in the Board Room of Village Hall, 33 S. Arlington Heights Road. Please review the Committee of the Whole agenda.

Due to the passage of the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (CRTA), which was signed by the Governor, adult use or “recreational” cannabis will be legal for individuals over the age of 21 on January 1, 2020. The Village of Arlington Heights can take no action to prohibit the use or possession of adult use cannabis by individuals over the age of 21 after January 1st. 

However, the Village Board will consider whether to prohibit the local retail sale of adult-use cannabis within the Village or whether to allow the sale of cannabis for adult recreational use within the Village boundaries, and if so, under what circumstances.  The Village cannot outlaw the adult use of recreational cannabis and cannot adopt special licensing requirements for cannabis retail establishments.

The meeting will be broadcast live on the Village’s access channels, 6 on WideOpenWest and 17 on Comcast. AT&T U-Verse users must search through the menu button on their remote for government, education and public access and then select Arlington Heights. The meeting will also be streamed live on the Village’s website.

The focus of the discussion will be three draft ordinances, prepared for the Village Board’s consideration:

Draft Ordinance A prohibits all types of adult-use cannabis business establishments.

Draft Ordinance B is only necessary if Draft Ordinance A does not move forward. It sets forth proposed Municipal Code amendments, most significantly creating an article in the Code related to cannabis businesses. This draft only permits cannabis dispensaries and prohibits all other types of cannabis businesses. The ordinance limits the number of dispensaries to three and sets forth limitations as to where dispensaries could be located in the Village. The ordinance prohibits on-premises consumption. 

Draft Ordinance C is only necessary to be considered if draft Ordinance B moves forward. The draft Ordinance C proposes a 3% tax on the retail sale of adult use cannabis. This is the maximum permitted by the State law.
To ensure that the Village makes its own determination as to regulations related to cannabis businesses, the Board must adopt an ordinance prior to January 1, 2020.

If you have any questions regarding the meeting, please email Robin Ward, In House Counsel, or call her at 847.368.5700.

Public Safety Implications
The Police and Fire Departments have discussed the impact of adult use cannabis establishments from the law enforcement, health, and EMS perspectives over the past several months. At this time it is believed that there would be no to little additional Village Staff time or expense based on the location of adult use cannabis stores within the community beyond what would be normal for a retail use with similar volume of sales. However, we cannot answer this question with certainty as this is a new concept in Illinois and there may be unanticipated issues. This assessment of “no to little impact” is based on the following factors:

  • The Village would not be responsible for regulating such stores as we do for liquor stores.

  • The Village’s experiences with medical cannabis indicate that it does not drive any Village calls for service beyond a typical business.

  • The regulation of the product to prevent theft/shoplifting etc. is more stringent than that of a typical retail establishment. This seems to suggest that calls for service for shoplifting/theft would be lower than a less regulated business. 

  • The management of parking/traffic related to the business will be biggest impact as we do not have a good way to analyze the volume of traffic beyond treating this as a typical retail establishment. If for some reason, traffic and parking were more burdensome than a typical retail establishment then parking/zoning regulations would have to be adjusted accordingly. 

  • This analysis presumes that consumption on the premises will not be permitted. Consumption on the premises could impact Village calls for service. Again, Staff is not stating that the legalization of adult use cannabis will have no impact on Village services. Staff is merely saying that given the legalization of adult use cannabis in Illinois effective January 1, 2020, the presence of retail locations within the Village is not anticipated to have an impact.

Finance/Revenue Implications
The Village’s Finance Department reviewed potential revenue that could be derived from a retail establishment selling adult use cannabis in Arlington Heights.

If an establishment was permitted and the Board chooses to impose a local tax of 3%, which is the maximum permitted by the State law, an estimate of a single dispensary located in the Village could receive a combined $500,000 per year – 3% cannabis tax, the 1% sales tax, and the 1% home-rule sales tax. The estimate is based on studies of the Denver Department of Revenue and information from Pharmacannis, owner of the current Verilife medical cannabis dispensary in Arlington Heights.

Earlier Board Discussion on Adult Use Cannabis
The Village Board first weighed in on the new legislation that legalizes adult use of cannabis at a Committee of the Whole meeting in August 13, 2019. At that time, a majority of the Board members said they were open to exploring the sale of recreational marijuana to adults. If the Village chose to permit retail sales of adult use cannabis, a majority of Board members said they would want a limit on the number of businesses in town, where they can be located, and they did not want to allow consumption on the premises.

The Board directed Village Staff to explore the zoning restrictions regarding the location and number of dispensaries that may be allowed to sell. The Board also requested feedback from the Village’s Arlington Economic Alliance and Board of Health. 

Excerpt of Minutes from August 13, 2019 Committee of the Whole Meeting.
Excerpt of Minutes from Arlington Economic Alliance.
Excerpt of Minutes from the Board of Health.

Explanation of Possession & Use of Cannabis by Adults Under New Regulation

  • The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (CRTA), signed by Governor J. B. Pritzker in June 2019, regulates and legalizes the production, consumption and sale of recreational cannabis in Illinois starting January 1, 2020.  The CRTA allows residents over the age of 21 to possess and privately use recreational cannabis in limited quantities.

  • The CRTA does not impact the current medical cannabis program in the State. Medical users will continue to purchase cannabis as they have been doing for the last several years. The State legalized the production, consumption and sale of medical cannabis in Illinois effective January 1, 2014.

  • Under the new law, Illinois municipalities are to choose whether they will allow (“opt in”) or prohibit (“opt out”) the local retail sale of adult-use cannabis by businesses within their jurisdiction.

  • When possession and use of cannabis for recreational purposes for adults over 21 years old becomes legal January 1, the Village will not have the ability to prohibit the possession and use of cannabis for recreational purposes by adults.

  • Public consumption of cannabis is not allowed under the new law. Adults are not allowed to walk around the Village smoking cannabis. Additionally, smoking cannabis is prohibited in all places where smoking is currently prohibited pursuant to the Smoke Free Illinois Act – restaurants, stores, offices, etc. Property owners – including owners of apartment buildings – have the right to prohibit the use of recreational cannabis by their tenants.

  • Consumption of cannabis is prohibited in vehicles. Cannabis may be in a vehicle as long as the cannabis is in a sealed container and generally inaccessible while driving (this is similar to the restrictions for transporting alcohol in vehicles).

  • Only medical cannabis program participants are allowed to grow cannabis plants in their homes and they can only have up to five plants.

  • The Village has the ability to determine whether it wants to permit the retail sale of cannabis within its borders and if it does, to what extent. 

  • Unlike liquor licenses the Village would not have the ability to determine who does or doesn’t get a cannabis license. All licensing would occur on the State level. 

  • More information regarding the CRTA is contained in this Fact Sheet provided by the Illinois Municipal League.