More suburban pot dispensaries get recreational sales licenses

State officials have awarded recreational cannabis sales licenses to eight more existing medical marijuana facilities - including one in a Northwest suburb that has banned such transactions.

Verilife stores in Arlington Heights and North Aurora and New Age Care in Mount Prospect were among those given licenses in this latest round.

But the Arlington Heights village board voted this month to outlaw recreational pot sales after much public discussion and debate on the issue.

Under Illinois law, the village board's decision supersedes the state's permission. As a result, the newly awarded license for the Verilife store in Arlington Heights will be considered inactive unless the owners decide to open a shop elsewhere.

Mount Prospect officials have recommended allowing such sales in town. The village board will debate the matter in December.

North Aurora's village board decided in October to allow recreational pot sales, with assorted zoning restrictions.

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation announced the latest wave of licenses this week.

In addition to the stores in Arlington Heights, North Aurora and Mount Prospect, dispensaries in Romeoville, Evanston, Chicago, Ottawa and Marion got licenses.

The licenses will permit the stores - except the one in Arlington Heights, because of the ban there - to begin selling marijuana to recreational users starting Jan. 1.

Illinois has issued 22 licenses so far. Stores in Mundelein and Naperville were among the first, although Naperville's city council since has prohibited recreational sales.

Existing medical cannabis dispensaries were able to apply for licenses first, either for sales on site or at a different location.

Recreational cannabis possession and sales were legalized by the General Assembly this year. Under the law, anyone 21 or older in Illinois will be able to possess up to 30 grams of cannabis, 5 grams of cannabis concentrate and 500 milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.

State-licensed growing, cultivating and sales facilities will be allowed, too.

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