Buffalo Grove establishes new tax on recreational marijuana sales
Buffalo Grove has yet to allow retail sales of recreational marijuana in the village, but it now has a tax in place if it becomes a reality next year.
Village board members on Monday established a 3% municipal cannabis retailers' occupation tax on all purchases, should they later agree to allow a recreational marijuana dispensary in town. It's the maximum amount allowed under state law.
Deputy Village Manager Christopher Stilling said Buffalo Grove could, by a conservative estimate, collect $300,000 to $400,000 a year through the tax.
However, Monday's action does not commit the village to allowing a dispensary. Village leaders have said they're leaning toward permitting sales of recreational marijuana, but a final decision has not been made.
Officials said establishing the tax comes first because the Illinois Department of Revenue requires municipalities give 90 days' notice of any new tax in order to collect it in the first quarter of 2020. Village leaders said that meant they needed the new tax in place by Oct. 1 if they wanted to start collecting on sales beginning Jan. 1, when the possession and recreational use of marijuana becomes legal in Illinois.
"The sale (of recreational marijuana) is not approved, but if you don't do this, then you cannot collect taxes as of Jan. 1," Village President Beverly Sussman said.
In the meantime, village trustees are awaiting a recommendation from the town's planning and zoning commission on whether to permit sales and under what circumstances.
Trustee David Weidenfeld, who's been outspoken against allowing sales in Buffalo Grove, cast the lone vote against the new tax.
"(Do) we want Buffalo Grove to be a Mecca for marijuana consumption? The answer is no, at least from my perspective," Weidenfeld said. "Why would you want that?
"We haven't even asked the public what they think yet. I don't need to start on Jan. 1," he added.
Possible recommendations by the planning and zoning commission could include limiting sales to businesses along state roads or in industrial areas, allowing a maximum of two retailers in the village, and barring businesses within 1,000 feet of schools, child care facilities and group homes.
Stilling noted that the village already has a medical cannabis dispensary that has operated well since opening in 2015. PDI Medical, 1623 Barclay Blvd., is one of 55 medical cannabis license holders in the state.