Arlington Heights overturns ban on recreational marijuana sales

  • Verilife, at 1816 S. Arlington Heights Road in Arlington Heights, received permission from village trustees on Monday to begin recreational marijuana sales.

      Verilife, at 1816 S. Arlington Heights Road in Arlington Heights, received permission from village trustees on Monday to begin recreational marijuana sales. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer, 2018

 
 
Updated 7/21/2020 5:03 AM

Arlington Heights trustees on Monday formally overturned their ban on the sale of recreational marijuana, allowing discussions to proceed with a medical cannabis dispensary that would be permitted as the sole provider in town.

The 7-1 vote directs village staff to work with Verilife, at 1816 S. Arlington Heights Road, on terms of a pilot program that would allow the dispensary to begin selling pot for recreational use. The pilot would last for a still-to-be-determined amount of time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The decision comes after months of lobbying from Verilife officials, who asked the village board to overturn its 5-3 vote to ban recreational pot sales last November.

During a virtual board meeting Monday night, trustees didn't offer any additional comments following their extensive discussion a week prior at a committee meeting. Then, many who were on the fence or outright opposed to allowing recreational marijuana sales last year said state revenue numbers since the Jan. 1 legalization were too much to pass up.

Allowing pot sales could generate $400,000 to $500,000 for municipal coffers each year, according to village projections.

Mayor Tom Hayes, who cast the lone "no" vote Monday, also didn't restate his opposition to recreational marijuana sales, referring back to his comments from a week ago and last November. Hayes has argued it would diminish Arlington Heights' reputation as a family-oriented community.

Village Manager Randy Recklaus said over the last week his staff has corresponded with officials at Verilife on a few topics, and plans to set up a formal meeting with them to discuss the pilot program. As part of the process, Recklaus said village staff is developing a list of issues and questions to be addressed before recreational sales can begin.

After those talks, the village board would still have to approve an ordinance to allow the sales at Verilife. A discussion and vote is expected in late August or early September.

The medical dispensary, which moved to Arlington Heights from Schaumburg in 2018, already has state permission for recreational sales.

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