EAST PEORIA — The East Peoria City Council on Tuesday approved a proposal to impose a 3 percent tax on the sale of recreational marijuana in the city. The agreement sets the stage for the ultimate approval of the sale of marijuana in East Peoria, but that vote isn't expected until the council meeting on Sept. 17.
"I think it's very unlikely that the council would change course on this," Mayor John Kahl said after Tuesday's council meeting. "I would expect we will move forward with (legalizing the sale of marijuana in East Peoria)."
The vote for the 3 percent sales tax, the most the state allows for marijuana sales, was 4-1. Commissioner Mike Sutherland opposed the ordinance. Kahl said Tuesday's sales tax vote was required to meet an Oct. 1 state deadline.
In July, Illinois became the 11th state in the United States to legalize and regulate the use of marijuana for non-medical reasons. The Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act becomes law on Jan. 1, 2020, and will allow adults to buy, own, smoke and ingest regulated amounts of marijuana. Municipalities can't prohibit the possession or use of marijuana, but can regulate where dispensaries can be located and can also outright prohibit non-medical marijuana dispensaries within its boundaries.
Under the new law, municipalities may also tax the sales of marijuana up to 3 percent of the amount of a sale. Approving the marijuana sales tax, is tantamount to allowing the sale of marijuana in East Peoria after Jan. 1. But there is more work to be done before final approval.
For instance, the zoning board will yet make a recommendation on the regulation of locations, store hours and other issues involving the siting and operation of a marijuana dispensary. The board meets Monday.
There is a licensed medical marijuana facility, NuMed, 504 Riverside Drive, currently in business in East Peoria. The 60 licensed medical marijuana facilities across the state will get the first option to acquire one of the 75 licenses to be allowed to sell recreational marijuana to adults.
Tuesday's council vote was passed without discussion among audience members or the council.
Scott Hilyard can be reached at 686-3244 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @scotthilyard on Twitter.