At least two towns in Will County have prohibited the sale of recreational marijuana, while many other communities plan to decide in the coming months whether they will allow its sale when it becomes legal for adults statewide next year.
Last month, the Bolingbrook Village Board and Wilmington City Council banned the sale of recreational marijuana. The City Council of Naperville, parts of which are in Will County, recently did the same.
Joliet, Plainfield, New Lenox and Shorewood have yet to make a decision on whether recreational marijuana can be sold in their jurisdictions.
The state law that takes effect Jan. 1 will allow for the sale and possession of recreational marijuana.
3C Compassionate Care Center, which has locations in Joliet and Naperville and currently sells medical marijuana, was recently licensed by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to sell recreational marijuana at its 1627 Rock Creek Blvd. location in Joliet.
However, the new state law also allows for municipalities to set zoning restrictions or prohibit recreational marijuana businesses altogether.
On Aug. 20, the Wilmington City Council passed an ordinance to prohibit those establishments after determining they would present “adverse impacts upon the health, safety and welfare of its residents,” along with additional costs and burdens to law enforcement and city officials, according to the ordinance.
Wilmington 2nd Ward Alderman Floyd Combes said he voted in favor of the ban.
“The biggest thing is to protect our nation’s youth,” he said.
Combes argued that marijuana is addictive and harmful, like cigarettes and alcohol. He said he believes it’s a gateway drug to more harmful substances.
When the Bolingbrook Board of Trustees banned recreational marijuana businesses, Mayor Roger Claar said he had a “real problem with governments which have turned to drugs and gambling to balance their budgets.”
New Lenox Mayor Tim Baldermann had a similar perspective when he argued that the law was “purely about dollars” for the state budget.
“This is just a money play, and I don’t think we should be creating legislation like that just purely for the financial gain of it,” he said.
Joliet interim City Manager Steve Jones said city officials will address the sale of marijuana within the next 30 to 40 days. Mayor Bob O’Dekirk did not return calls on the issue.
Plainfield Mayor Michael Collins said village trustees will discuss the issue this month. He said he personally is not in favor of marijuana use.
“I don’t believe it’s in the best interest of people to do marijuana,” he said.