By Maria Maxham
Forest Park Mayor Rory Hoskins and village commissioners voted 3-0 with one abstention to approve a 3 percent tax on potential sales of recreational marijuana in the village. This vote was only to approve the tax rate, not to allow the sale of recreational cannabis itself. Illinois municipalities have a deadline of Sept. 30 to register with the Illinois Department of Revenue to impose this tax.
Hoskins said a number of vendors have expressed interest in opening recreational marijuana dispensaries in Forest Park. But he noted that this would mean zoning decisions for the village.
Commissioner Dan Novak questioned how the recreational sale of marijuana would affect Forest Park's image and the health and safety of the village. He also asked how "the legal revenue differs in potential revenue compared to video gaming's projected revenue." Abstaining from the vote to approve this tax, he said he knows village authorities plan to "dive deeper" to explore these issues.
Mayor Hoskins is holding a town hall meeting on Thursday, Sept. 12 at 7 p.m. at the Forest Park Community Center to discuss the issue of recreational marijuana dispensaries in the village. The meeting, he said, will be a chance for village officials to hear what the public has to say about allowing the sale of recreational marijuana in town. He added that there will be "a couple of experts on hand to answer questions and address concerns."
On May 31, the Illinois General Assembly passed a bill legalizing the sale and use of marijuana for adults 21 and over. On June 25, Governor JB Pritzker signed the bill into law, which takes effect on Jan. 1, 2020. Local municipalities retain the right to opt out of allowing recreational dispensaries to open, as Naperville did last week.