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DeKalb City Council to discuss recreational marijuana sales

DeKALB ­– With less than five months before Illinois legally allows adults to buy and use marijuana, the DeKalb City Council is looking ahead to determine if it will allow dispensaries in the city.

For municipalities wishing to allow the sale of recreational marijuana in city limits, state law allows for local control, with caveats, city staff said in documents ahead of Monday’s Committee of the Whole meeting set for 5 p.m. at the DeKalb Municipal Building.

City Manager Bill Nicklas is looking for guidance on whether to proceed with drafting an ordinance that would allow the sale of the drug in the city. In addition to retail sales, state law would allow medical marijuana users to grow up to five plants in their homes, with conditions.

Municipalities could impose a local tax of up to 3% on all recreational marijuana sales, documents show. Supporters estimate that legalization eventually could generate about $500 million a year in tax revenue.

Under the law, which takes effect Jan. 1, municipalities also can ban the sale of marijuana, but can not ban its use by those older than 21.

Local growers would not be able to advertise within 1,000 feet of school grounds, playgrounds, recreation centers, child care centers, public parks, libraries or game arcades, documents show. Municipalities might have some wiggle room in being able to move that restriction to 1,500 feet, but the fall session in Springfield could clarify that language, documents show.

Municipalities also can impose restrictions on the number and types of dispensaries allowed.

For instance, the city could allow dispensaries that also sell medical marijuana, and disallow the sale of edible marijuana products. Each form of business also would have to go through the city’s Planning & Zoning Commission.

City Planner Dan Olson has prepared several maps that show what city staff are calling “clear zones,” or spaces that could accommodate marijuana dispensaries in commercial instead of residential areas.

Obtaining a license to sell marijuana is solely up to the state’s Department of Agriculture and the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, but local sellers would need to obtain a special use permit in the city, documents show.

Those hoping to buy or sell recreational marijuana in DeKalb County might have better luck in DeKalb than Sycamore, however.

DeKalb Mayor Jerry Smith has said he’s open to more community conversation on the matter, while Sycamore Mayor Curt Lang has said he’d rather not see recreational dispensaries in Sycamore.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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