How should Naperville tax pot sales? Council set to discuss Tuesday

  • Naperville is set to consider how to tax recreational marijuana sales when the city council holds a virtual meeting Tuesday night.

      Naperville is set to consider how to tax recreational marijuana sales when the city council holds a virtual meeting Tuesday night. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
 
Posted4/6/2020 5:30 AM

If Naperville allows sales of recreational marijuana, the city wants to reserve the right to tax it as soon as possible.

That's the purpose of a discussion scheduled for Tuesday at the city council's first remote meeting during the statewide stay-at-home order.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The council will consider a local 3% tax, the maximum allowed under the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, on potential sales for adult, nonmedical use.

Enacting the tax to be charged as soon as July 1 requires the city to file an ordinance by May 1 with the Illinois Department of Revenue. If the city files after May 1, the tax would not be charged until Jan. 1, 2021.

The discussion comes after 53.25% of voters in a March 17 referendum said they want the city to allow recreational cannabis sales.

Several council members said they would follow the will of voters, which would require overturning a ban on recreational sales that was set in September. But there also could be a push among opponents to ask the question again on the Nov. 3 general election ballot.

Jim Haselhorst, leader of Opt In Naperville, said it's reasonable for the city to seek the full 3% rate allowed by state law and to file an ordinance before the May 1 deadline.

Jennifer Bruzan Taylor, leader of Opt Out Naperville, said discussing marijuana taxation -- or any controversial issue -- during the stay-at-home order creates an impression the city is trying to rush things. She said that might not be true, but "that's how it appears."

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Bruzan Taylor said she has Open Meetings Act compliance concerns with public participation in the meeting.

But spokeswoman Linda LaCloche said the city is following an order from Gov. J.B. Pritzker that relaxes provisions of the act and allows for virtual meetings without a quorum of elected officials in the same place.

The meeting will be conducted through a Zoom video conference, with the public able to submit comments in advance or register to comment during the meeting through a speaker signup form on the city's website.

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