Public Act 101-0027 creates the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act and was signed into law by Governor J.B. Pritzker on June 25, 2019. Effective January 1, 2020, the Act legalizes the possession and private use of cannabis for Illinois residents over 21 years of age.
Municipalities may not restrict the private consumption of cannabis that is authorized by the Act. However, the Act prohibits the use of cannabis in public places, schools, and childcare facilities among other locations. Municipalities may adopt and enforce local ordinances to regulate the possession and public consumption of cannabis so long as the regulations and penalties are consistent with the Act.
The Act preserves local zoning authority and directly authorizes municipalities to prohibit (opt-out) or significantly limit the location of cannabis businesses by ordinance. Municipalities will have the authority to enact reasonable zoning regulations that are not in conflict with the act. This would include the authority to opt-out of either commercial production or distribution (dispensaries) of adult-use cannabis within their jurisdiction.
Municipalities also may enact zoning ordinances and regulations designating the time, place, manner and number of cannabis business operations, including minimum distances between locations through conditional use permits. In addition to their general business licensing authority, municipalities will have the authority to allow for on-premise use of cannabis at locations to be determined locally.
The Act anticipates that local authorities will engage in inspections of cannabis-related businesses. Municipalities may establish and impose civil penalties for violations of the local business licensing ordinances and regulations. Municipalities, by ordinance, may impose a Municipal Cannabis Retailers’ Occupation Tax on adult-use cannabis products of up to 3% of the purchase price, in .25% increments. Counties may impose up to 3.75% in unincorporated areas, in .25% increments. The taxes imposed under this Act shall be in addition to all other occupation, privilege or excise taxes imposed by the State of Illinois, such as sales tax.
The Act provides employer protections including that nothing in the enactment prohibits employers from adopting reasonable zero-tolerance or drug-free workplace employment policies concerning drug testing, smoking, consumption, storage or use of cannabis in the workplace or while on-call. These policies must be applied in a nondiscriminatory manner. Employers may prohibit the use of cannabis by employees in the workplace, and engage in discipline, including termination, for violations of those policies and workplace rules.
The Staff Reports associated with this issue may be found below. The Development Committee recommended increasing the buffer from 250’ to 500’ between dispensaries and uses such as schools, parks, daycare facilities, and religious institutions.
Current Meeting Schedule
November 19, 2019: Public Hearing Before the Plan Commission/Zoning Board of Appeals on Zoning Restrictions for Dispensaries
December 9, 2019: Development Committee Consideration of the Plan Commission/Zoning Board of Appeals’ Recommendation
December 16, 2019: City Council Review of the Zoning Restrictions for Final Action