Shorewood officials opened the discussion about allowing commercial recreational marijuana businesses within village limits after its Tuesday night meeting.
The mayor and board members discussed the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act signed into law by Gov. JB Pritzker in June, which will legalize marijuana use for adults older than 21 on Jan. 1.
While there were some mixed responses from trustees, Mayor Rick Chapman appeared to believe permitting the businesses to open in Shorewood was not a good idea. Chapman said he did not understand how people would want to do this, as businesses still have drug testing regulations, and marijuana is in the system for weeks at a time.
Chapman’s recommendation was to “keep the crap out of our village, and we don’t entice the kids to do something they shouldn’t be doing.”
Trustee Dan Anderson said the police department has been in schools teaching about the negative effects of drugs for more than 35 years.
“We teach the kids not to do this, then we say, ‘Go do this.’ It’s stupid,” Anderson said.
Trustee Dan Warren disagreed somewhat, saying marijuana could be seen in the same light as alcohol usage, but Chapman and Anderson both said alcohol does not stay in the system for weeks at a time.
Chapman said he wanted to be cautious, and said there would need to be more discussion and feedback from the community on the topic before any decisions would be made. He said the topic is similar to gambling in the village – proceed cautiously, then take a look at the reality of the proposition, and then reevaluate. Tax benefits will also be considered, but Economic Development Director Kelley Chrisse said that historically, these businesses do not bring many jobs to the county, likely fewer than 10 in a facility.
Chrisse also presented a report on potential businesses such as dispensaries and home growers and village rights in regards to usage, zoning, tax and regulations.
No decisions or directions were asked of the board. The session was an informative look at laws and options the board can take concerning license allowances. Chrisse said if the board takes no action by the time the law takes effect, the village will fall under state laws and current zoning regulations.
If the village chooses to opt out, documents can be drawn to make it clear that retail marijuana businesses will not be welcome in the village, which would entail a simple ordinance.
Wilmington, Naperville and Bolingbrook have all chosen to opt out. Plainfield looked poised to do so, as well in a meeting Monday.
After a couple of Shorewood businesses approached the village about liquor control at events and on patios, a liquor code amendment was brought before the board for review and adopted Monday. Chrisse said the revisions added a definition for licensed premises to clarify that an outdoor patio would be a different liquor license classification. Businesses would need separate licenses for indoor and outdoor spaces.
Applicants would continue to need approval through the liquor commission as they do currently.
Trustee Clarence “CC” DeBold questioned a section of the revised code concerning outdoor patios, which would not affect grandfathered businesses but could put a damper on future businesses wishing to have outdoor spaces. Chapman and other board members agreed to remove a 300-foot restriction for outdoor spaces and residential areas.