MORTON — Recreational marijuana businesses won't be allowed in Morton.
After a brief discussion, Village Board members voted unanimously Monday to ban recreational marijuana growers, cultivation centers, and dispensing, processing and transporting facilities that could have set up shop in Morton after the passage last week of a new law legalizing recreational marijuana within Illinois.
"This is the tip of the spear," village attorney Pat McGrath told board members. "I'll be bringing more ordinances to you before Jan. 1, 2020, that deal with other issues caused by the state law, like public possession of marijuana."
Just recently, the General Assembly approved and Gov. JB Pritzker signed into law a bill that legalized the use of recreational marijuana. The measure allows ordinances that can not only ban such businesses but also to create to “reasonable” zoning restrictions for cultivation centers, craft growers, processing organizations and dispensaries. On-site consumption may also be regulated by local governments, according to summaries provided by the governor's office.
Trustee Rod Blunier asked McGrath if businesses that sell products with CBD oil are included in Morton's ban.
They are not, the village attorney said, as long as they're selling products that contain less than the federal legal limit of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
Mayor Jeff Kaufman said the recreational pot ban in Morton was his idea.
"I asked Pat (McGrath) to write the ordinance that was presented (Monday) to the trustees," he said. "These businesses are not something Morton residents want. Just like video gambling."
Trustees voted 5-0 in 2009 and 4-3 in 2013 — with then-Mayor Ron Rainson casting the deciding vote — to ban state-approved video gambling in Morton. The 2013 vote followed two months of heated debate at Village Board meetings and on social media. An audience of about 150, mostly video gambling supporters, gasped when Rainson announced his vote.
There were about a half-dozen audience members Monday, and no public comments on the recreational marijuana business ban.
Illinois is the 11th state to allow marijuana for recreational use. Marijuana was banned nationally from 1937 to 2012, when voters in Colorado and Washington approved recreational use.
Starting Jan. 1, Illinois residents can purchase and possess up to one ounce of recreational marijuana at a time. For non-residents, the limits are 15 grams. The law will allow recreational marijuana purchases by adults age 21 and older at approved dispensaries.
It's estimated that taxing the legal sale of recreational marijuana will generate $58 million in revenue for Illinois in 2020 and $500 million annually within five years.
Illinois has 55 medical marijuana dispensaries, none in Morton. These dispensaries are expected to get the first shot at licenses for recreational marijuana dispensaries.
Steve Stein can be reached at (248) 224-2616 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.