All you need to know about Lake County's proposed recreational-use pot rules
Agree or disagree, Lake County officials want to know what you think about allowing the sale of marijuana for recreational use in the unincorporated areas.
The adult use cannabis Web page was launched Thursday as a one-stop shop of information on the topic ahead of virtual public hearings April 19 and 21.
The sale and use of marijuana for adult recreational use became legal in Illinois on Jan. 1, 2020.
Like other jurisdictions, Lake County paused before considering whether to allow sales and other aspects of the new industry in its jurisdiction. Lake County officials can establish regulations to allow marijuana businesses or ban them in unincorporated areas.
The topic was revived after a one-year moratorium. On Feb. 9, the Lake County Board directed the public hearing process to begin.
The Lake County Zoning Board of Appeals will consider proposed zoning changes to permit marijuana-related business in the unincorporated area subject to certain conditions.
Hearings are scheduled for 5:30 p.m. April 19 and 1 p.m. April 21, and will be continued should more time be needed.
The website contains information, resources and tools as a comprehensive resource in advance of the hearings, which will be conducted via Zoom.
"We definitely want public input for or against, and the website is the first step," said Zoning Board of Appeals Chairman Greg Koeppen.
The site contains information on the state law, status of recreational-use pot sales in other Lake County communities and an embedded mapping function.
It also provides background, explains the proposed zoning changes and allows the public to ask questions or submit comments or concerns.
"We hope this will be a very useful and informative tool," said Krista Braun, the county's planning and zoning manager.
Eric Waggoner, director of planning, building and development, said the hearing times were staggered to allow for greater participation.
"Given the topical significance of adult-use cannabis legalization, one of the county's goals from the outset was to be as open and transparent as possible about our zoning review process," he said.
"We feel that our outreach strategy accomplishes that, and we anticipate a great deal of feedback from all corners of Lake County," he added.
Public input is part of a comprehensive approach to consider cannabis business locations, signage, the number of those businesses allowed within a certain area and other aspects. Businesses that would be allowed to operate include dispensaries where retail sales would be allowed, growers, processors and transporters.