The Joliet Plan Commission on Thursday will hold a public hearing on proposed zoning rules for stores selling recreational marijuana.
Joliet is on track to be one of the few communities in the area to authorize the sale of recreational marijuana. A final decision has not been made in Joliet, but several surrounding communities have already taken the action allowed by the state to opt out, meaning they will not allow sales of recreational marijuana.
The Joliet City Council kept its options open at its Oct. 1 meeting with a 5-4 vote.
City officials have emphasized that the vote was not a final decision. But it did authorize a 3% sales tax on marijuana sales and directed staff to move ahead with zoning requirements.
One council member who voted for the tax said he has not yet decided whether to support recreational marijuana sales, creating the possibility that the city could still opt out if one or two council members change their votes.
“I want to hear the comments from the Plan Commission meeting and then make a final decision,” Council member Michael Turk said this week. Turk said he voted Oct. 1 to approve the tax to leave the city’s options open.
“It’s really about 50-50 the comments I’m getting – whether to allow it or not to allow it,” he said.
The Plan Commission meeting at
4 p.m. Thursday includes a public hearing before a vote, which would serve as a recommendation to the City Council.
The proposed zoning rules allow recreational marijuana sales in business and industrial districts with restrictions on how close stores could be to homes and schools.
The state has already authorized 3C Compassionate Care to sell recreational marijuana in Joliet if the city does not opt out. The company has a medical marijuana dispensary in Joliet at 1627 Rock Creek Blvd. and has acquired a former mattress store near the Louis Joliet Mall that has been approved for medical marijuana sales, but has not yet been put to use.
The former mattress store at 2930 Colorado Ave. is a location that meets the proposed zoning guidelines for sale of recreational marijuana.
A representative from 3C Compassionate Care told the City Council that the company wants to sell recreational marijuana in Joliet.
Sales would generate an estimated $1 million in annual tax revenue for the city.
One community advocate is urging the city to put those potential tax dollars into communities most adversely affected by drug arrests in past years.
“What I would like to see is a percentage of those dollars go to social services and also scholarships for young men and women who live in those areas,” said Garland Mays, president of the Forest Park Neighborhood Council. “It’s only fair. It’s only right.”