Winfield says 'yes' to recreational marijuana sales

 
 
Updated 11/22/2019 1:31 PM

Winfield will allow recreational marijuana businesses, but only at a limited number of sites along Roosevelt Road, St. Charles Road and North Avenue.

Trustees voted 4-0 Thursday to approve an ordinance allowing the sale of marijuana under Illinois' Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, which will make recreational use and possession by adults legal across the state beginning Jan. 1.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

As part of the ordinance, dispensaries will only be allowed in specific commercial areas along the three major thoroughfares. They won't be permitted in Town Center and along Geneva Road.

Village President Erik Spande said there aren't many places to open a dispensary "because we don't have a whole lot of commercial areas."

Before voting, the board heard from three residents who spoke against the sale of recreational marijuana. However, several trustees said the village needs the sales tax revenue a dispensary would bring.

Trustee Dennis Hogan said he originally was going to vote against the sales, but the village's financial problems changed his mind.

Officials said Winfield has a roughly $5 million general fund -- the portion of the budget that pays for salaries and operating expenses.

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Roughly $500,000 of that comes from a red-light camera at the intersection of Winfield and Roosevelt roads. That camera is expected to go away, however, when the state rebuilds the intersection. There's also a chance state lawmakers will ban such cameras.

Another financial concern is that a yearly $900,000 grant from Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital is set to expire in 2021.

CDH awards the grant to compensate Winfield for the services it provides to the tax-exempt institution. But it's yet to be determined whether the deal will be renewed.

While Winfield is in a strong financial position right now, Village Manager Curt Barrett said, "we don't have to look too far down the road to see some big challenges coming."

Under the state law, towns that permit dispensaries are allowed to place local sales taxes of up to 3% on such sales. Winfield will impose the full 3%.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

In addition, Winfield receives a 1% state sales tax and a 0.5% nonhome-rule sales tax. As a result, the village will receive a total sales tax of 4.5% on gross recreational cannabis sales.

If a dispensary opens in Winfield, officials estimate the village could collect $400,000 to $600,000 a year in tax revenue.

"I would prefer not to go down this road," Trustee Carl Sorgatz said. "But I have to look at this realistically."

Winfield officials are hoping to improve the village's financial situation by encouraging more commercial development along Roosevelt. But Sorgatz said that will take time.

As part of Winfield's ordinance, anyone wanting to open a dispensary must get a special use permit from the village. They will need to go through a process that includes a public hearing and a vote by the village board.

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