Recreational marijuana in Buffalo Grove still on hold

Buffalo Grove's medical marijuana dispensary is running into a roadblock from the state in its attempt to expand into the recreational pot market.

It's a delay that is projected to cost the village around $500,000 a year in anticipated tax revenue, village officials say.

Cresco Labs, which operates the Sunnyside cannabis dispensary at 830 N. Milwaukee Ave., recently moved from 1623 Barclay Blvd., so it could expand into adult recreational marijuana use.

But Village Manager Dane Bragg said the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, the agency responsible for enforcing the state rules, said the facility cannot legally operate for adult use.

The sticking point is state law prevents medical dispensaries from selling recreational marijuana if they move to a new location.

State Rep. Daniel Didech, who is working to get legislation passed that will clear the hurdle, said the intent of the rule was to encourage new players in the marketplace.

"We didn't want a situation where all of these existing facilities sucked up all the market share," Didech said.

However, he added, "I think that the spirit of what we were trying to do really should allow them to sell recreational out of their new location."

Didech said he and other legislators hope to amend the law when they return to Springfield this fall.

"It's frustrating on a number of levels," said Jason Erkes, chief communications officer for Cresco Labs. "It affects the tax revenue for the municipalities that went through a thoughtful process on whether to even allow cannabis retailers in their community, the customers that want access to cannabis to help with their everyday wellness and the businesses, like us, that were told the intent of the legislation was always to allow relocation. We hope there is resolution to this soon."

Bragg said village officials "conservatively" estimated the facility would generate about $40,000 a month in tax revenue for adult use. As a result, the funds that would have been applied to capital projects, including streets, will have to be delayed, he said.

"At this time, we have removed that from our capital planning," Bragg said. "We cannot rely on that revenue stream coming in yet."

One village board member who expressed concern is Trustee Gregory Pike.

"Buffalo Grove did the heavy lifting last October to pass the legislation, and here we are in August, and we still don't have the ability to open up the facility," Pike said.

The village counted on that tax revenue for budgeting purposes, he said.

"It's disappointing when we see other communities, such as Schaumburg and Arlington Heights, pass theirs within the last month or two and they are already opening up their facilities," Pike said.

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