Recreational marijuana will officially be legal in Illinois on January 1, 2020. Town and city leaders have to decide if they want to allow recreational sales in their communities. It might be hard for the state’s recreational users to find a retail store to visit as many suburbs are already saying “No”.
So far, South Elgin and Elburn city leaders are on-board to allow a single recreational marijuana retail location each, according to the Daily Herald. Bloomingdale, Lake Barrington and Naperville officials all say the plan is to ban recreational sales. The mayor of Batavia has already said he will veto a ruling by city officials that would allow recreational sales.
Libertyville city leaders haven’t decided yet, but they’re also leaning on the side of “No.”
Representative Kelly Cassidy of Chicago said, “I think you’re always going to hear the negative first. I don’t necessarily think this is indicative of anything. I am hearing from a lot of communities that want to know more, that want to get model ordinances from us and ideas of how best to implement it. I think folks are doing their best due diligence on both sides.”
Naperville Councilman Kevin Coyne said, “I do feel this should not belong in the suburbs. There are many people who say they simply don’t agree marijuana is harmful. I’m not willing to ignore the opinions of many experts.”
Lake Barrington is worried about its “quiet community,” so it’s not likely that recreational marijuana will be welcomed there either.
South Elgin Village President Steve Ward said, “It’s going to be legal, so why should we step aside? I know it’s not a great thing. But we’ve come a long way in the world, and marijuana is not the worst thing in the world. To me, it’s no different than alcohol.”
Elburn Village President Jeff Walter shares the same sentiment as Ward, he said, “If someone wants to invest in Elburn with that kind of shop and it’s legal, they can invest.”
The state will allow 75 retail marijuana licenses, with 47 of them being in the Chicago Metro area. The licenses will be issued by May 1, 2020. Current medical marijuanawill have the opportunity to apply for recreational licenses early. They will be able to choose whether to open a separate recreational location or offer medical and recreational sales under one roof.