Arlington Heights to hold recreational marijuana discussion Monday

  • PharmaCann LLC, which operates a medical marijuana dispensary on the south side of Arlington Heights, could be allowed to sell recreational marijuana after a state law takes effect Jan. 1. But the sales are contingent on village board approval of recreational pot sales in town.

      PharmaCann LLC, which operates a medical marijuana dispensary on the south side of Arlington Heights, could be allowed to sell recreational marijuana after a state law takes effect Jan. 1. But the sales are contingent on village board approval of recreational pot sales in town. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer, June 2018

 
 
Updated 10/25/2019 11:14 PM

Arlington Heights village board members will discuss Monday whether to allow recreational marijuana sales in town, and if so, how many dispensaries should be permitted and where they should be located.

It will mark the second time the panel has addressed the topic, after a majority said in August they were open to allowing sales.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Still, village staff has prepared three ordinances for consideration: one prohibiting pot sales, another allowing them, and a third that would allow the village to capture a 3% local tax if sales are approved.

Under the preliminary rules proposed by the village staff, a maximum of three dispensaries could be allowed villagewide: one south of Central Road, one between Central and Hintz roads, and one north of Hintz Road. They couldn't be within 1,000 feet of schools and parks, or in the downtown business district.

They could be permitted in the B-2 and B-3 business zoning districts, according to the draft proposal. That would include the shopping centers around Arlington Heights, Palatine and Rand roads, and Arlington Heights and Golf roads.

That latter area is where the sole medical marijuana dispensary in Arlington Heights is located, and whose owners have lobbied the village board to be allowed to add recreational sales to their business. Under the state law that legalizes the adult use of marijuana starting Jan. 1, existing medical marijuana shops have first shot at being able to sell to recreational users, so long as it's permitted within the boundaries of the municipality.

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Local towns can't otherwise prohibit the use or possession of cannabis by adults over the age of 21 after Jan. 1.

The village staff has suggested that pot dispensaries, if allowed by the board, be a permitted use within the two business zoning districts, and not a special use that would require additional future reviews and approvals by the board. They say liquor stores and pharmacies are permitted uses in those areas, and there's already significantly more state regulations related to the sale of cannabis, such as security, hours of operation, manner of sale, advertising and packaging.

The preliminary Arlington Heights rules would outlaw on-site consumption, and prohibit any other type of adult use cannabis businesses, such as growing facilities or pot-infused product makers.

Five of the nine village board members in August expressed willingness to allow marijuana sales, many saying they didn't want the village to lose out on revenues that could go to other towns. Village officials say one dispensary could mean $500,000 a year for village coffers.

Opponents, including Mayor Tom Hayes, said allowing pot sales would hinder Arlington Heights' image as a family-oriented community.

Since the last village board discussion, two advisory panels held discussions of their own. The Arlington Economic Alliance voted 8-3 to recommend pot sales, while the board of health unanimously voted to recommend against it.

The Monday meeting, at 7 p.m. on the third floor of village hall, is a committee of the whole discussion, and final votes on ordinances would come later at a village board meeting. And if the board is open to pot sales, there would also be a plan commission public hearing scheduled to consider zoning code changes.

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