Prospect Heights and Streamwood, two Northwest suburbs that took a somewhat different approach to their deliberations of recreational pot sales by starting with resident surveys, are now narrowing down their preferred regulations of the new industry.
Prospect Heights went a step further by creating an ad hoc committee that included some professional expertise to further research the issue and make recommendations.
The city council accepted some of the committee's suggestions and rejected others.
While the committee felt market forces should drive the number of dispensary licenses, the council has expressed a preference to allow only one, City Administrator Joe Wade said. And, the council is leaning toward prohibiting on-site consumption and social lounges, as well as any cultivation centers or processing businesses -- all things the committee felt could be permitted in appropriate places.
It did agree with the committee's recommendation of a 750-foot setback between dispensaries and schools, but added day care and preschool facilities to the rule.
The council may formally adopt its regulations, as well as a 3% local tax on recreational pot sales, at its meeting Dec. 9.
One factor in Prospect Heights officials' perspective on the issue was the survey it conducted that received 233 responses by Nov. 1, 97% of which were from people identifying themselves as a city resident or business owner.
The results showed 85% supported taxing sales, 63% supported recreational dispensaries, 61% supported cultivation centers, 77% supported medical dispensaries but only 50% supported lounges allowing on-site consumption.
Streamwood received more than 300 responses to its online survey, of which 81% favored allowing recreational pot sales with local control, Village Manager Sharon Caddigan said.
That initial input guided officials' next steps in drafting a proposed ordinance, she added.
What the village board will consider during two readings on Dec. 5 and 19 are allowing no more than two dispensaries in light industrial areas or along major roadways, the maximum 3% tax on sales, and prohibiting cultivation centers, Caddigan said.
Any dispensary would require a special-use permit, and on-site consumption of cannabis would be banned under the proposed law.
The nonpublic use of recreational marijuana by people over the age of 21 will become legal in Illinois on Jan. 1. While municipalities cannot prohibit such use, they do have the right to regulate and tax sales within certain parameters.