Marijuana sales in Sandwich? City talks could begin next month

SANDWICH – Sandwich city officials are expecting public discussions about the possible sale and production of recreational marijuana in the city to come in the next few weeks.

Sandwich Mayor Rich Robinson said the only discussions regarding the issue so far came in the form of public comment during an early July city meeting, shortly after Illinois became the 11th state in the country to allow recreational marijuana. Gov. JB Pritzker signed the bill into law in June.

Robinson said full discussions could begin as early as the Sept. 3 committee of the whole meeting – with city officials starting to get a feel for what direction to take during the Monday, Aug. 26, City Council meeting – but official discussion dates have yet to be determined.

Robinson said he's not sure exactly where the City Council stands as a whole on the matter. He said they're continuing to research what it could mean for the city either way, including the possibility of a 3% sales tax revenue capture if the city allows retail sales.

"But at the same time, I’m not sure if most people are going to be in favor of the promotion of recreational marijuana," Robinson said.

Robinson's comments come after Kendall County officials started talking about what recreational marijuana could look like from a zoning standpoint and whether the county would opt in or out of allowing related sales in unincorporated areas.

According to state law, Illinois adults ages 21 and older will be able to carry 30 grams, or slightly more than an ounce, of cannabis flower; up to a half-gram of THC, the chemical compound that gets users high, within cannabis-infused products, such as edibles; and 5 grams of cannabis concentrate, such as hash oil. For visitors from outside the state, those possession amounts are cut in half.

Effective Jan. 1, municipalities have the authority under the law to allow cannabis producers and retailers to locate within their borders and to impose additional regulations on those businesses.

Robinson's comments also come as Yorkville Mayor John Purcell said he is anticipating the beginning of city discussions about recreational marijuana to begin during the next Yorkville City Council meeting, Oswego Village President Troy Parlier said public discussions are expected to begin during a Sept. 3 committee of the whole meeting and Plano Mayor Bob Hausler expecting full discussions to begin during the city's Sept. 9 committee of the whole meeting. Montgomery Village Administrator Jeff Zoephel also said village talks are anticipated to begin sometime next month.

Robinson said the public comment city officials heard on the matter so far have been from those opposed to the city opting in for the sale of recreational marijuana. He said he hasn't been aware of city officials receiving written comment on the issue.

“But once we get closer to where we’d be having more discussion about it, I’m sure we’ll have a lot more public input,” Robinson said.

Personally, Robinson said, what people do in their own homes doesn't concern him. However, he said, it makes a difference if they use cannabis while they're behind the wheel of a car or are on the job.

"I just think that we kind of opened Pandora’s box," Robinson said.