Cannabis will be legal to possess and consume by adults over the age of 21 in the state of Illinois in just over a week, and one county is taking steps to make sure that it is ready for what comes next.
The Will County Board has created a special fund to address the impending impact of cannabis legalization, all the way from cultivation to consumption.
Will County Board Speaker Denise Winfrey (D-Joliet) says that the board wanted to be ready for the impact that cannabis legalization will have on the communities after it goes into effect on January 1, 2020
Speaker Winfrey says that the board will be taking a look at what the community’s needs might be after cannabis becomes legal to make sure that funds are directed to the appropriate agencies.
“We have the opportunity to exercise some control over what is already becoming a large industry in Illinois,” says Winfrey. “We didn’t want the people of Will County to be caught on their back foot when recreational cannabis use becomes legalized after the New Year.”
The board has also voted to establish zoning regulations for businesses that grow, process, or sell cannabis products.
The zoning regulations will prohibit cannabis businesses from operating near schools, daycare centers, and residential neighborhoods.
Shops that sell cannabis will need to apply for a special use permit to do business in an unincorporated area of Will County.
Committee Chair Tyler Marcum (D-Joliet) says that the Land Use and Development Committee took a long hard look at where facilities for cannabis businesses should be permitted and established appropriate restrictions for their placement.
Marcum says that every sales application requires a special use permit and will be considered on an individual basis to ensure maximum oversight.
The board was given the option of banning the sale of cannabis in Will County, but ultimately decided that regulating the products was a better choice.
A decision to ban sales of cannabis products in Will County would not have affected consumption or possession, which will be legal for adults throughout all of Illinois.