City of Kankakee Votes 10-4 on Adult-Use Cannabis

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Kankakee, IL – For several months, community members and local leaders have given their viewpoints to support or oppose the City of Kankakee approving an ordinance to allow cannabis dispensaries in the City once adult-use cannabis becomes legal in state of Illinois. The Illinois General Assembly passed the bill in May and Governor J.B. Pritzker has signed the bill expanding the use of cannabis effective January 1, 2020. Local government can opt-out by prohibition or significantly limiting cannabis businesses in their jurisdiction, including dispensaries, cultivation centers, craft growers, processing organizations and transportation centers.

Municipalities have been determining if they will allow or prohibit sales in their communities, as well as, how it will be regulated and taxed. Tonight, City Council voted 10-4 to allow the recreational adult-use of cannabis in the City of Kankakee.

“I have been a certified addictions counselor in the state of Illinois for almost 20 years. In my experience, clients with addictions issues present with both mental health and substance abuse issues. This legislation allows adults to make informed decisions regarding recreational use. Furthermore, this administration is committed to maintaining public safety of the community and providing resources that will enhance economic opportunities and services for residents; especially those who have been unfairly impacted by the criminal justice system,” said Mayor Wells-Armstrong.

“I have constituents who have reached out to me who were not in favor and I wanted to voice that tonight. There are so many unknowns here and only time will tell. I was a police officer for 30 years and it’s hard to wrap my head around the idea that cannabis will now be legal. Now that it’s been passed, I hope it turns into a positive thing for the City, said alderman Larry O’senga.

Municipalities can adopt ordinances to impose a local tax on the operation of cannabis dispensary of up to three percent. Those dollars can be used toward improving the lives of community members through expungement, mental health, job creation, business development, education, and law enforcement training. City Council also voted 14-0 on the resolution adopting allocations for the funds received from cannabis sales. No final decision on how the funds will be allocated has been made. The funds will go to the City’s escrow account where the allocation of those revenues will be determined at a later time.

The ordinance passed this evening designates the types of facilities and establishes a fee structure for the various type of dispensaries. 

One of the fastest growing cannabis companies in the world, Cresco Labs, has also received the state’s permission to sell recreational cannabis for adult-use from their dispensaries, however the Kankakee location serves as a cultivation site at this time. 

Those who have spoken against allowing the adult-use of cannabis in the City of Kankakee stated they believe it will have a negative impact and image in the community, emphasizing our youth as a possible target. Educational programs and workshops are to be determined in the near future.

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