Kankakee, IL – The City of Kankakee’s Planning Commission held a public meeting Monday night on a zoning ordinance amendment to provide regulations for adult-use cannabis facilities. Effective January 1, 2020, cannabis will be legalized in the state of Illinois. Cities have the option to create their own regulations or opt-out completely. Mayor Wells-Armstrong spoke on what it could bring to the community, noting that there is already a legal cannabis growing facility in the City of Kankakee.
“The City of Kankakee has the opportunity to take leadership in regulating the expansion of the cannabis industry. I appreciate the efforts and diligence of the city council to learn about the industry and develop policies that will ensure appropriate use and enhance public safety.”
Some residents who also gave their input agreed and stated that they are looking forward to seeing the economy grow, while other local residents disagreed and expressed their concerns for how it will be controlled.
“I’m curious to see how our police department will handle it and how it will affect their daily routine in the community. I’m also concerned about our youth, even though it’s stated for adult use,” said Kankakee citizen, Joanne McCracken.
Two representatives from the Kankakee County Health Department also spoke against the proposal, claiming the community already has seen a problem with drug use, while Mark Peysakhovich who is a consultant with the Medical Cannabis Alliance of Illinois stated that there have been no issues in communities with medical cannabis dispensaries in the state.
“These are very responsible businesses and good neighbors. They are governed by very strict state operating standards, including on-site security guards. Dispensaries pay local taxes, providing revenue that the taxpayers in this community would not otherwise get. They also hire local residents, create jobs and draw people to the area which benefits the economy,” said Mark Peysakhovich.
The proposal on the zoning of where the cannabis facilities will be located is still up for discussion. The plan proposes that the dispensaries are to be at least five hundred feet away from schools and daycares, as well as, two hundred and fifty feet away from residential use. The planning commission made a recommendation to the city council to approve the amendment, but asked the city council to consider expanding the distance from schools.
The City’s ordinance committee met last night and with a unanimous vote, supported implementing a tax ordinance that will allow the City to collect revenues on cannabis sales. A special city council meeting has been scheduled on Friday, September 27, 2019 at 5:30pm.