RANTOUL — The village board will be talking marijuana in a month. Or at least the public will.
The board will take residents’ comments relating to cultivation and the establishment of recreational cannabis establishments in the community.
“To me this is a community decision,” Village Administrator Scott Eisenhauer said. “This is one that we want to hear from people on both sides of the issue if that exists, just to get a feel before we start down a path if we (adopt an) ordinance.”
Earlier this year, Illinois became the 11th state to legalize cannabis and the first state in which a legislature approved commercial sales. Possession is legal in Vermont but not commercial sales. All other states approved commercial sales via referendum.
It is necessary for a community’s governing board to ban the commercial sale of recreational marijuana under the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act before it would be prohibited. Still, residents would be able to use it legally.
Eisenhauer said the village is waiting until September to seek public comments because some members of the board will be absent from the August study session.
“We also want to provide significant enough notice to allow people a chance to plan to attend,” he said.
Eisenhauer said he hasn’t heard many comments from the public about the issue, but he said trustees have.
“In talking to trustees, members of the public have talked to them. They have heard both sides,” Eisenhauer said. “Some are against it for all the moral reasons while others recognize the revenue it could potentially generate.”
Sale of recreational marijuana can begin Jan. 1.
The village is able to impose a 3 percent municipal sales tax on the sale of recreational marijuana products. The revenue would go into the village’s coffers.
In Paxton, a city council committee heard overwhelming support for the city to allow at least one recreational marijuana dispensary. Among the supporters was the Paxton Chamber of Commerce’s executive board.
The state is projected to start issuing licenses for recreational marijuana businesses next summer. Initially, only existing medical marijuana dispensaries will be able to sell recreational marijuana.
In Gibson City, that town’s mayor said the city council will wait to discuss whether to allow a recreational marijuana dispensary to open in the community.
Dan Dickey said it might be a couple more months before the issue is discussed. He said city officials decided they don’t need to be in a hurry to discuss the issue.
He said they want to learn more about the topic.
In Monticello, meanwhile, the city council decided, like Rantoul, to seek input from residents on how to regulate the sale of marijuana for recreational use.
Sports complex topic
Also at the Rantoul Village Board September meeting, a presentation will be made on the proposed sports complex to be built in the community.
“We have finished up going through all the RFPs (requests for proposals) interviews and discussions,” Eisenhauer said. “We have a few things to work out before announcing any decision there.”
Eisenhauer said the village wants to secure public comments on the complex at some point this month.
“We will try to set a community meeting before the end of August so we can start getting some feedback from the community about what they would like to see at the sports complex,” he said.
He said planners are also in the process of looking at other sports complexes and meeting with people who have experience with sports complexes or traveling sports leagues.