Lake County Board approves 1-year moratorium on recreational pot permits
The Lake County Board on Tuesday enacted a one-year moratorium on permits for marijuana dispensaries that would serve recreational users.
The temporary ban, which applies only to unincorporated areas of the county, comes about two months after a key county board committee halted plans to move forward with proposed zoning rules that would've allowed regulated marijuana sales at licensed dispensaries.
Advocates of the moratorium said they want more time to consider the potential effects of marijuana sales on communities and to collect more data before deciding whether to permanently allow or ban recreational sales.
"I personally want to look my constituents in the face and say we did everything we could," Commissioner Linda Pedersen, an Antioch Republican, said during Tuesday's board meeting in Waukegan.
Libertyville Democrat Jennifer Clark backed the proposal, too. A one-year moratorium allows board members to review the potential impacts of recreational sales on parking, public safety and other aspects of life in Lake County and to make a thoughtful decision, she said.
Not everyone agreed with a one-year ban.
Board members Ann Maine and Dick Barr voted against it.
Maine, a Lincolnshire Republican, said many published scholarly articles already have reported the data county officials said they're seeking. She suggested a 90-day moratorium would be more appropriate and proposed amending the proposal to reduce its duration -- but the majority of the board opposed that change.
Barr, a Round Lake Beach Republican, supported Maine's proposal. Afterward, he said residents and business owners "deserve an answer now" on whether recreational sales will be allowed.
As of Jan. 1, anyone 21 or older in Illinois can possess up to 30 grams of cannabis, 5 grams of cannabis concentrate and 500 milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. State-licensed growing, cultivation and sales facilities are allowed, too.
Individual communities can restrict or ban cannabis-related businesses. County boards can adopt regulations or bans for unincorporated areas.
No marijuana dispensaries operate in unincorporated Lake County. The only one within a Lake County town's borders is Mundelein's Rise.