Cannabis shops not welcome in town
Trustees express desire to opt out of allowing recreational dispensaries in the village
Last updated 10/16/2019 at 11:59pm | View PDF
Hinsdale trustees Tuesday signaled unified support for prohibiting recreational cannabis-related businesses within the village.
During a first read discussion of an ordinance to ban such establishments, trustees said the village should opt out of allowing dispensaries under the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act that Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law in June.
“This is not a way that the village should be pursuing a revenue-generating opportunity,” Trustee Scott Banke remarked. “This is just not what this community represents, and I feel strongly that this is not something that we would ever want to pursue.”
Trustee Luke Stifflear said the village might miss out on economic benefits as the new industry takes root, but that revenue is not the only consideration.
“From a community standpoint, we have to balance that versus what type of community we want Hinsdale to be,” Stifflear said, later expressing doubt that cannabis business proprietors would even be interested in setting up shop in Hinsdale.
Under the new law, personal possession of up to 30 grams of cannabis is legal for Illinois residents at least 21 years of age, with lower limits for nonresidents. Municipalities may not restrict the private possession and consumption of adult-use cannabis authorized by the act. However, the law prohibits the use of cannabis in public places, schools and childcare facilities among other locations, and allows towns to adopt and enforce local ordinances to regulate possession and public consumption of cannabis consistent with the act. The law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2020.
Trustees also discussed regulating medical marijuana dispensaries. The use of medical marijuana was legalized in Illinois in 2014, and medical marijuana businesses cannot be prohibited outright, only regulated in terms of their proximity to residential districts, schools and child care facilities, among other sites. The state-imposed distance limitations on medical cannabis dispensaries were recently lifted, meaning the village would need to institute its own distance requirements or other zoning limitations to restrict medical cannabis dispensaries’ proximity to schools and other areas.
Village President Tom Cauley favors a local ordinance mirroring the state restrictions that were lifted.
“To the extent that we cannot prohibit medical marijuana, that we keep it away from schools and recreational facilities,” Cauley said.
Stifflear said those restrictions, because of the village’s residential character, would effectively keep those dispensaries out, too.
Trustee Neale Byrnes asked if the village could opt in to permitting recreational marijuana businesses at a later date. Stifflear replied in the affirmative.
“If we determine at a point in the future that we want to allow for it, then so be it,” Stifflear said.
There were no comments from the public on the matter. The board is expected to vote on the ordinance at its Oct. 1 meeting.