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Will County creates special fund for cannabis

The Will County Board created a special fund to address the impact of legalization of Cannabis from cultivation to consumption at their December board meeting just before statewide legalization goes into effect in January. In 2018, the state of Illinois passed a law that legalizes the use of recreational marijuana.

"Starting January 1, 2020 cannabis use is legal in Illinois and we wanted to be ready for the impact that it will have on our communities,"said Will County Board Speaker Denise Winfrey (D-Joliet). "The board will take a hard look at what the needs in our communities are after legalization occurs and we'll make sure that dollars are directed to those agencies."

The board also voted to establish zoning regulations for businesses that grow, process, and sell cannabis products. The rules created buffer zones which will prohibit businesses near schools, daycare centers, and residential neighborhoods. Stores that sell cannabis will have to apply for a special use permit to operate in unincorporated Will County.

"The Land Use and Development Committee took a long hard look at where these facilities should be allowed and provided appropriate restrictions for the placement of these businesses," said Committee Chair TylerMarcum (D-Joliet). "Every application for sales requires a special use permit and will be looked at on a case by case basis to ensure maximum oversight."

The board had the opportunity to ban the sale of cannabis in the county but decided that regulating the product made more sense.

"The Republican caucus would have preferred that the sale of cannabis was not allowed at all in Will County," said Minority Leader MikeFricilone (R-Homer Glen).

Regardless of whether or not, the board voted to ban the sale of cannabis in Will County, consumption of cannabis products will be legal throughout the state.

"We have the opportunity to exercise some control over what is already becoming a large industry in Illinois," said Winfrey. "We didn't want the people of Will County to be caught on their back foot when recreational cannabis use becomes legalized after the New Year."


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