Lake Bluff appears to be one step away from prohibiting marijuana-related businesses in town, but officials are saying the issue could be revisited in the future.
Trustees unanimously voted Oct. 14 for a zoning amendment preventing the establishment of marijuana-related businesses in the village. If the expected final vote on Oct. 28 stands, the village would be “opting out,” a choice given all communities under the state’s new marijuana laws that take effect Jan. 1.
The board’s vote was no surprise since trustees in September directed staff to draft an ordinance outlawing dispensaries, cultivation centers and craft growers and other related business, despite a recommendation for such establishments from the plan commission/zoning board of appeals.
Village President Kathleen O’Hara listed several reasons for the opposition, starting with that marijuana sales are illegal under federal law. In addition, stakeholders such as Police Chief Mike Hosking and the ant-drug advocacy group LEAD, are opposed and state law may change in the future.
“At this point in time, the village board has expressed an opinion that it is not in favor of allowing a recreational cannabis dispensary in the community,” O’ Hara said, adding that the issue could be re-examined later.
Trustee Eric Grenier suggested the idea go back to the plan commission in the future.
“I think there is some value to working with PCZBA on what an ordinance might look like,” Grenier said.
Resident Steve Leventhal expressed concern about the village not collecting the estimated $100,000 in local taxes from a possible dispensary.
“I believe anything that can be done to raise income and tax revenue, it just makes common sense,” Leventhal said. “If Lake Bluff doesn’t do it, someone else will.”
Daniel I. Dorfman is a freelance reporter for Pioneer Press.