Cannabis

(file photo;WCSJ photo)

Area communities are nearing the end of the year to make decisions regarding whether or not to allow cannabis sale and related facilities and what restrictions to set.

In the LaSalle County community of Earlville, the city may make the decision on December 11th, following a public hearing, a zoning board of appeals meeting and ultimately a city council meeting.

Earlville Mayor Mike Hall says the city's ZBA meeting will be held at the Earlville School Library at 5:00 p.m. that night. The city council meeting will follow at 7:00 p.m.

Mayor Hall says this will be the council's second discussion.

Mayor Hall says the council may choose to vote at the meeting on December 11th because of the change in state law that goes into effect on January 1st, 2020. The State of Illinois will allow adult-use cannabis possession of up to 30 grams for residents over the age of 21. Communities are tasked with deciding whether to amend their zoning ordinances to allow for dispensaries, cultivation centers, growers, infusers, transporting organizations and other types of businesses. The majority of local communities who have approved or are leaning toward approval have required a special use process for each business on a case by case basis.

Communities can also set restrictions, such as setback distances from properties like schools and residential areas, which have varied by community. In Earlville, Mayor Hall says he expects the upcoming meeting to determine those aspects, following a recommendation from the ZBA.

Mayor Hall says the city attorney has recommended approving a sales tax percentage at the same time. The maximum allotment for cannabis sales is 3% in addition to any municipal retailers tax in place.

Meanwhile, the nearby village of Leland, last month, approved an ordinance to prohibit cannabis sale facilities. Officials say the board's approval was unanimous after a brief discussion about where facilities would locate in Leland.

The LaSalle County Board has not yet made a decision on cannabis facilities in unincorporated areas of the county. The county ZBA, in a 4-3 vote, recommended prohibiting sales in the areas outside of municipal limits.

Other LaSalle County municipalities have approved sales, including Somonauk and Sheridan. Locally, communities like Sugar Grove, Plainfield and Minooka have voted to prohibit cannabis sales. Kane and Grundy Counties have also voted to prohibit sales in unincorporated areas of those counties.