Palatine leaders want to see more research on pot sales
Village leaders let process continue on recreational sales
A Palatine village council majority Monday night agreed it wants to see more research on the potential of recreational marijuana sales in town, which opens the door to a public hearing on the issue expected in October or November.
Mayor Jim Schwantz, who was part of a 4-3 vote to let the issue continue through the village approval process, said it doesn't mean he supports recreational marijuana sales in Palatine.
Schwantz said he wants to know more about the potential revenue from a 3% local tax on marijuana sales that could help offset extra costs Palatine police might incur when the recreational use becomes legal in Illinois on Jan. 1.
"What is that unintended (marijuana) cost?" Schwantz said. "Is it significant?"
Village Manager Reid Ottesen said he's tried to get as much financial information as possible from towns that have medical marijuana dispensaries, some of which sell recreational pot in other states. He said the revenue estimates vary.
"I've heard estimates as low as maybe $150,000, $200,000," Ottesen said. "I've heard things as high as $400,000, $500,000. It's like a car dealer in a 1,500-square-foot box because you get revenues that can be that high. That's what we're talking about."
A public hearing on recreational pot sales will be hosted by either the advisory plan commission or zoning board of appeals. Ottesen said the hearing is expected in late October or November.
Council members then will formally vote to allow or prohibit the recreational marijuana sales after the public hearing.
Residents spoke on both sides of the issue at Monday's council session. Resident Joseph Chen asked the elected officials to reject recreational pot sales.
"It will greatly impact the health of our children," said Chen, who was part of a group of about six opponents who had "Opt Out" signs.
Resident Paul LoPiccolo said the potential revenue from the 3% local tax is a reason he favors allowing recreational marijuana sales in Palatine.
"People are going to come here with marijuana and use it in our area," LoPiccolo said. "And you're not going to get away from it."
Councilmen Brad Helms, Kollin Kozlowski and Tim Millar voted for Palatine to opt out of recreational marijuana sales. While not necessarily in favor of the pot sales, Councilmen Scott Lamerand, Doug Myslinski and Greg Solberg joined Schwantz in the majority voting to allow the approval process to continue.
"I'm not really in that comfortable place of joining the party," Helms said, "only because when you talk about our label, (it's) no hookah shops, no pawnshops, no tattoo parlors and no (video) gaming. I mean, what do we stand for?"