Legal Pot: What St. Charles Residents Need To Know

Arkansas

ST. CHARLES, IL — With recreational marijuana officially legal in Illinois, city officials in St. Charles are making sure to educate local residents on what is allowed and what is not. Marijuana became legal for recreational use on Jan. 1.

St. Charles passed an ordinance last year allowing a maximum of two recreational dispensaries in town: one on the west side of St. Charles and another on the east side. In addition, medical marijuana dispensaries are allowed in town and there is no limit on how many can set up shop in St. Charles.

Currently, the one medical marijuana dispensary in town, Zen Leaf, is seeking city approval to sell marijuana for recreational use as well, city officials said. Zen Leaf, at 3715 Illinois Street, has received a license from the state to operate a recreational marijuana dispensary, according to the Kane County Chronicle.

The plan commission has recommended the city council approve a special use for Healthway Services of West Illinois LLC, which runs Zen Leaf, to allow a recreational marijuana dispensary to operate in its current location on Illinois Street.

Meanwhile, the city’s Planning and Development Committee is expected to discuss allowing Zen Leaf to move forward with its recreational dispensary during a meeting on Jan. 13.

What’s Allowed In City Charles?

Recreational marijuana dispensaries are currently only allowed in the business zoning districts and regional business zoning districts in town, which generally include Main Street/Route 64 outside the downtown, and also Route 38 and Randall Road on the west side, city officials said.

The city will also require one of the businesses in town to have at least one year of experience operating a medical dispensary in St. Charles before establishing a recreational marijuana business while the other dispensary must have one year of consecutive experience in the state of Illinois.

Any retailers must be at least 250 feet away from a school, day care, church or single-family residence and public consumption is not allowed. In addition, on-site consumption lounges and cultivation centers are prohibited.

The St. Charles City Council has approved a 3 percent tax on retail cannabis sales which will be in addition to the general merchandise sales tax.

Other requirements for a potential dispensary owner hoping to move to St. Charles include: The business most hold a valid recreational cannabis dispensary license issued by the state and complete the city of St. Charles Special Use Zoning process, which would include applying for special zoning approval, a public hearing where surrounding property owners would be notified, and a recommendation from the plan commission, approval from the planning and development committee and then final approval by the city council.

If no dispensary opens in town, the use of marijuana for private use is still allowed in St. Charles as well as throughout the state of Illinois, city officials said.

“It will be legal for citizens to buy cannabis in other cities that have recreational cannabis dispensaries and privately consume cannabis in St. Charles,” according to information posted on the city of St. Charles website.

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