Rolling Meadows medical marijuana dispensary seeks to add recreational sales

Rolling Meadows officials on Tuesday expressed an openness to allowing recreational marijuana sales in town - if at first to an existing medical marijuana dispensary that's been in operation since 2016.

Under the Illinois law that legalizes the adult use of marijuana starting Jan. 1, 2020, the state's 55 existing medical marijuana dispensaries have first shot at expanding their facilities to include pot sales to recreational users. The businesses would also be eligible to open a second location for only recreational sales.

Representatives of Nature's Care, 975 Rohlwing Road, told city aldermen Tuesday they are interested in adding recreational sales, and encouraged the council to adopt an ordinance that would allow them to do it.

Among the five of seven aldermen present for the committee of the whole meeting Tuesday night, none expressed an outright objection to that prospect, though no informal straw poll was taken. City Manager Barry Krumstok said he would bring a formal ordinance to the council for a vote, likely before October.

The city can impose a local tax up to 3% that under the current law would go into effect Sept. 1, 2020. But there's talk of a legislative amendment that would have local taxes apply on Jan. 1, 2020, so the Illinois Municipal League has recommended municipalities certify their ordinances to the Illinois Department of Revenue by this October.

City leaders praised Nature's Care for its operations, security and contributions to city coffers.

Officials estimate a local tax on recreational marijuana sales could generate anywhere between $100,000 to $300,000, and if approved, they recommended half be earmarked to the city's general fund and half to local roads.

Mayor Joe Gallo asked Jake Coward, director of operations for Nature's Care, whether imposing the maximum 3% tax would hinder the business; Coward said it wouldn't.

Gallo also recommended the city work with Nature's Care and the chamber of commerce to determine if there should be a cap on the number of dispensaries allowed citywide.

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