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Peoria Inches Closer To Approving Recreational Marijuana Rules

Jeff Smudde

The sale of adult-use cannabis in the city of Peoria may, to a large degree, follow the same guidelines as that of medical marijuana.

The guidelines that were presented to the city council last night would allow dispensaries to sell marijuana in industrially zoned areas, the warehouse district and in commercial districts with a special use permit.

Senior city attorney Chrissie Peterson said the actual use of recreational cannabis would be very restrictive.

"The state law has been very clear about where the areas that cannabis can be used are, and those are not public locations, so a restaurant would not count," Peterson said. "The only time that a person could in public use the product would be if the city were to license and regulate businesses for on-site consumption."

The council debated the distance a dispensary should be from facilities housing children and the cost of licenses.

City staff recommended a licensing fee of $5,000 for firms growing marijuana and $2,500 for dispensing it. Some council members thought those fees were too low.

Council members also thought the recommended distance of 500 feet from any facility housing children was too low. But councilman John Kelly was disappointed that there was no discussion about the health issues that he says could occur if recreational marijuana is approved.

"We’re going forward with this without any discussion whatsoever of some of these negatives," Kelly said. "I think it’s irresponsible of just not to have discussed any of these issues which are serious issues."

City staff will present revised recommendations at a later date for final council approval. The council last month approved a three percent tax rate if the sale of marijuana is approved in Peoria.

Copyright 2021 WCBU. To see more, visit WCBU.

H. Wayne Wilson covers Peoria City Hall for WCBU. He also produces documentaries and hosts a half-hour talk show on WTVP-TV.