January 20, 2020 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

Board to hold hearing on allowing marijuana to be sold within the village

The St. Joseph Village Board wants to know what its citizens think regarding marijuana dispensaries within the village limits.

The village board will hold a public hearing the week of August 19 regarding the issue.

The exact time and date of hearing is to be determined and will be announced by the end of July.

In June, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a law allowing the sale of marijuana within the state.

The law will allow recreational possession and sales starting on January 1, 2020.

This law will create a new system of taxes and regulations.

The law allows adults 21 and older to possess and buy marijuana.

Illinoisans will be able to legally possess 30 grams of cannabis. The legal limit for cannabis concentrate is 5 grams. The limit for cannabis-infused products, such as edibles or tinctures, is 500 milligrams of THC. Illinois tourists will be allowed to possess half of those amounts.

Cities and counties may prohibit sales, but not possession.

Previous low-level convictions and arrests for marijuana will be pardoned and expunged.

The law will go into effect on January 1, 2020.

Products with less than 35 percent THC will have a 10 percent sales tax. Edibles will have a 20 percent sales tax and products with a THC concentration higher than 35% will have a 25 percent sales tax. Illinois municipalities and counties will be able to levy additional local sales taxes.

Mayor Tami Fruhling-Voges said that while the village would consider opting out of allowing dispensaries to open within the village limits, that the village cannot outlaw possession.

Fruhling-Voges has previously expressed her concerns regarding the issue.

Currently, the village doesn’t have any kind of zoning in place to help regulate where marijuana could be sold in the village. If marijuana was legal today, the village would not have any zoning to determine where that business could locate and a dispensary could open anywhere in the village’s commercial or downtown districts.  

Fruhling-Voges said she had also spoken to some community members and the majority have told her they do not want a dispensary allowed in the village.

She also was concerned that the cost to regulate use and the cost of creating ordinances would outweigh any potential profit the village would see from sales tax.

Village attorney Joe Lierman suggested the public hearing.

“We should have the community tell us their opinions,” he said.

Trustees Art Rapp and Andy Gherna agreed.

“I would imagine a lot of people are going to have opinions on it,” he said.

Fruhling-Voges agreed with the idea of a public hearing.

“We need to hear from our community and if we decide to do this we need to do it responsibly,” she said.

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