Bartlett seeks more data before decision on pot sales

Bartlett village board members held preliminary discussions Tuesday on their thoughts and concerns about the sale of recreational marijuana in the village, but they decided to research the approaches taken by similar communities in states where it's already legal before taking decisive action.

"I just want to make sure this discussion tonight is mostly theoretical," Village President Kevin Wallace said. "I think there's a lot of information we could still garner from other municipalities around the country."

Though Illinois municipalities cannot restrict the recreational use of marijuana by adults over 21 years old after Jan. 1, they can prohibit or tax businesses that will sell it.

Attorney Bryan Mraz told board members they also could set a number of recreational marijuana businesses they are willing to license.

Municipalities can establish an occupational tax of up to 3% on recreational marijuana sales that would be above and beyond the normal sales tax.

The statewide estimate of the revenue recreational marijuana could generate exceeds $1 billion, village officials said. Depending on sales volume and the amount of tax the village wants to apply, a single business in Bartlett could generate between $10,000 and $100,000 in annual tax revenue for the village.

Wallace said he believes even $100,000 isn't worth the social issues created by the legalizing of recreational marijuana, including the possibility of more 18-year-olds trying it. He suggested looking at comparably sized towns in Colorado for both the way businesses were handled as well as the health impacts of legal marijuana.

Putting the issue to voters through an advisory referendum also was suggested, but Mraz said there would not be an opportunity to hold one before Jan. 1. However, the village could adapt a policy based on the results of a later referendum, he said.

Bartlett Police Chief Patrick Ullrich said an article he'd read emphasized the need for strong security measures in recreational marijuana businesses to prevent break-ins. In states where they're legal, such businesses face burglaries to acquire supplies for the black market, where marijuana can be sold for three times as much.

The discussion is planned to be resumed at a later building and zoning committee meeting once more information obtained.

Bartlett to discuss regulating recreational pot sales

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