YORKVILLE – The Yorkville City Council approved an ordinance that would tax recreational cannabis sales for as much as the state allows.
The Yorkville City Council voted, 7-1, to approve the retail cannabis tax ordinance, which imposes a 3% sales tax on recreational adult use cannabis sales in the city, during its regular meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 24, at City Hall. Yorkville 4th Ward Alderman Seaver Tarulis voted against the measure.
Yorkville Mayor John Purcell said the city still has to put together related ordinances while the city still considers whether it will officially opt in or out of the sales. If the city wants to tax retail cannabis before July 1, he said, the City Council has to pass the tax ordinance by the end of this month so the city doesn’t potentially lose six months of revenue from missing deadlines set by the Illinois Department of Revenue.
“All this says is if we pass an ordinance, which allows somebody to come into town and somebody comes into town and opens up, this allows us to collect the taxes,” Purcell said. “I don’t think anybody here has ever said they were opposed to collecting the taxes.”
The vote comes after aldermen started the discussion regarding recreational cannabis sales within city limits during the Tuesday, Aug. 27, City Council meeting. Trailer bills for the original state law, which legalized recreational marijuana use and was passed in June, also are starting to appear in preparation for the state’s veto session next month.
The 3% tax is the maximum a municipality can tax under the recently passed state law legalizing the use of recreational marijuana, which goes into effect Jan. 1. According to city documents, the 3% retail cannabis sales tax also would be on top of the city’s normal 2% sales tax.
Yorkville City Administrator Bart Olson said in the Tuesday, Sept. 17, memo the city “would expect to receive new revenue of approximately $25,000 and $250,000 annually” with projected sales being between $500,000 and $5 million.
Yorkville resident Mike Hand said he and his wife, Katie, attended the meeting because they wanted to get a better idea of where the city was in the process of opting in or out of retail cannabis sales within city limits. After expressing concerns about not being approached or surveyed by city officials on the matter as the city talks continue, he said, he and other residents also wanted to let city officials know they do not want retail cannabis sales to be allowed in Yorkville.
“Everybody should weigh in on what they think or how they feel,” Mike Hand said.
Darrin Battaglia, also a Yorkville resident, said he is against legal marijuana sales in town for the same reason that someone may be against gentlemen’s clubs being allowed within city limits, for example. He said he is all for the city encouraging businesses to come set up shop there, but he also wants the moral standards of the city to continue to be upheld.
“And the association with that isn’t a positive thing” from that perspective, Battaglia said.
Olson said in the memo the city zoning ordinance regarding retail cannabis is still being drafted by city staff, but should be ready for discussion by the Tuesday, Oct. 8, City Council meeting. He said in the memo the public hearing for the zoning ordinance is scheduled for sometime in November with the City Council vote coming in late November or early December.
Purcell said the city’s concern is if they don’t take action on other components of the state’s legal recreational marijuana law, including zoning regulations and city employee policies, it may become a free-for-all for businesses that want to come into the city especially. He said so far he has heard most aldermen say they are in favor of opting into those sales, as long as there are appropriate zoning restrictions imposed.
“It’s a lot to react to in a short time,” Purcell said.
Purcell said residents who want to make their voices heard about the issue can contact their aldermen.