Round Lake Beach approves recreational marijuana sales
As the historic first day of legal recreational cannabis use in Illinois nears, Round Lake Beach on Monday became one of the most recent Lake County communities to approve sales within its borders.
It could be several months, if at all, before village officials would have to review applications for dispensaries. But the ordinance approved by the village board assures they are prepared to deal with any requests when the time comes.
Changes to the village's zoning ordinance mandate that marijuana shops be at least 250 feet from schools and other designated properties, and require that owners obtain a special-use permit, which comes with a higher measure of review from village officials.
Although the state's Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act allows the cultivation, sale, possession and consumption of marijuana for recreational use by those 21 and older beginning Jan. 1, communities can ban or regulate cannabis-related businesses.
At this point, there are several more communities in Lake County that oppose sales than favor them.
Monday's village board action follows public hearings Sept. 5 and Oct. 3 before the advisory planning an zoning commission, which recommended approval.
Under the village's regulations, cannabis-related businesses can't operate within 250 feet of property used for a school, day care facility, park, place of worship, forest preserve, cemetery or property in various residential zoning districts.
The village also can set hours of operation and establish by future action the number of each type of cannabis business allowed.
Round Lake Beach joins Fox Lake, which on Dec. 10 unanimously agreed to allow cannabis-related businesses. Antioch will consider the issue Thursday,
Fox Lake officials agreed to there should be two available licenses for each of the six kind of marijuana-related businesses, according to Village Administrator Anne Marrin. The decision followed a public hearing and workshop, she added.
So far, only businesses that already hold medical marijuana licenses have been given the opportunity to apply for recreational licenses. The state is expected to review the round of applications in May or June, Marrin said.
Like Round Lake Beach, Fox Lake hasn't disclosed an estimate of revenues the village anticipates from the sale of marijuana for recreational use in town. Communities are allowed to impose an additional 3% tax on marijuana sales.
And while there may not be a dispensary for some time in a given community, police plan to pay extra attention for signs of marijuana impairment in drivers, said Round Lake Beach Deputy Police Chief Mike Scott. He said patrol officers are being educated on various aspects of the new law, such as how much of each type of product can be possessed, how it can be possessed in a vehicle, and where it can be smoked or consumed.