McLean County administration is proposing maxing out its tax rates for recreational marijuana sales, as a starting point for discussions the county’s elected leaders plan to have in the coming weeks.
Illinois law allows the county to charge 3% on all cannabis sales and an additional 3.75% on all sales in unincorporated areas of the county.
County Board Finance committee chairman Jim Soeldner said concerns about law enforcement and expunging old convictions could lead to increased costs for the county.
“We really don’t know what the expenses are going to be,” Soeldner said. “We do know the state is going to provide us with a little bit of revenue, but we want to make sure we have all the bases covered and I think that’s why we are talking about going to the maximum.”
Soeldner also cautioned the county must weight concerns that a higher tax could prompt some customers to seek alternatives.
“More taxes is going to mean more and more people trying to get medical (cannabis) because the medical tax is a lot lower, and there will be some pressure for black market marijuana,” he said. “I think all of those things are fair discussions.”
The Finance committee will discuss the tax rates on Wednesday. A final proposal is expected to go before the County Board at its Feb. 18 meeting.
The state hasn't approved any cannabis sales licenses for McLean County yet.
The Town of Normal will consider a request on Monday for what would be the county’s first recreational cannabis business. The Green Solution is seeking a special use permit to open a cannabis dispensary. It currently operates the county’s only medical cannabis dispensary.
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