Rosemont approves ban on pot sales - albeit a temporary one

Rosemont trustees on Wednesday enacted a temporary ban on recreational marijuana sales - only expected to last the first half of 2020 - while residents go to the polls in the spring to say if the ban should be made permanent.

The moratorium goes into effect Jan. 1 - when the state's law permitting adult use of marijuana also becomes official - and will expire June 30, 2020. Village officials say that should give them enough time to prepare rules and regulations surrounding recreational marijuana dispensaries, should voters approve of the concept in the March 17, 2020, advisory referendum.

"It gives us a couple months to get our ducks in a row," Mayor Brad Stephens said.

Were the village board not to have approved the temporary ban before Jan. 1, a prospective marijuana business could have approached the village and sought special use permission to open. Under the scenario, the village board still could have denied the application, but the moratorium resolves any fears over possible litigation, Stephens said.

The board last month decided to place the advisory question on the ballot since trustees are split on the issue. Stephens initially indicated in September that most trustees were leaning toward opting out of recreational marijuana sales, but they're also considering the anticipated revenues that could come to village coffers.

Also in March, Rosemont's 1,600 registered voters will weigh in on whether the village should overturn its long-standing ban on video gambling.

Between new video machines and pot sales, officials estimate the village could reap anywhere from $1.5 million to $3 million in new annual revenues.

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