Recreational Cannabis in Unincorporated Lake County
The recreational use of cannabis in Illinois became legal effective Jan. 1, 2020. Under the law, jurisdictions in Illinois within their boundaries can ban recreational cannabis businesses or establish regulations to allow the production and sale of cannabis. This includes Lake County government, which enforces zoning regulations for unincorporated Lake County.
At its Jan. 8, 2021 Committee of the Whole meeting, the Lake County Board directed staff to prepare a resolution that would begin the public hearing process to get input on potential regulations to allow recreational cannabis businesses (including growers, processors, distributors and retail establishments) in unincorporated Lake County. This process will entail several steps and allow multiple opportunities and forums for public engagement. Further committee discussion and action on the proposed resolution will be taken at the Public Works, Planning and Transportation Committee Meetings in late January and early February.
No final actions for cannabis regulations in unincorporated Lake County have been made. Discussions will continue throughout 2021.
Lake County Recreational Cannabis Task Force
Earlier this fall, Lake County Planning, Building and Development Department initiated a task force to study and analyze the new recreational cannabis law and the local scoping authority contained within the act. Although many communities from across the county participated in the task force and have already received these materials, Lake County staff would also like to disseminate the materials to those persons and communities who were not part of the task force but would nonetheless find the information that was developed through the task force process equally useful and beneficial.
Please contact Lake County Planning, Building and Development at email@example.com with any questions or comments.
The Lake County Board voted on Feb. 11, 2020, to impose a one-year moratorium on recreational cannabis businesses in unincorporated Lake County. The moratorium is effective through February 12, 2021. During this time, Lake County will not be accepting or reviewing applications for proposed recreational cannabis businesses. All recreational cannabis businesses, including dispensaries, cultivation centers, craft growers, infusers, processors and transporters, will remain prohibited within unincorporated Lake County. News release.
After discussion at its Jan. 8 meeting, the Lake County Public Works, Planning and Transportation (PWPT) Committee directed staff to prepare a County Board resolution enacting a one-year moratorium on unincorporated recreational cannabis businesses. Committee action on the proposed moratorium will be taken at its Jan. 29 meeting and final action by the full County Board is anticipated at its Feb. 11 meeting. The resolution, if adopted by the Lake County Board, will formally prohibit recreational cannabis businesses within the unincorporated area for a period of one year (until 2021).
The purpose of the moratorium would be to allow time to research health and law enforcement impacts and revenue implications of recreational cannabis legalization and to gather input from the public on recreational cannabis legalization at a series of public forums. At the conclusion of the moratorium period, this information would be used by the County Board as it considers future regulatory options for recreational cannabis. Watch the discussion.
At its Dec. 4 meeting, the Lake County Public Works, Planning and Transportation (PWPT) Committee voted not to move forward at this time with a County Board resolution initiating the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) public hearing/zoning process for unincorporated recreational cannabis business regulations.
The committee asked staff to compile further information for future committee discussion including additional business location mapping scenarios and more information on community, health and law enforcement impacts. This will allow the committee to make a more informed decision on the next steps at a later date. An update will be provided at the next PWPT meeting in January. Watch the discussion from the meeting.
To prepare for the new law, the Lake County Planning, Building & Development Department (PBD) led a Recreational Cannabis Regulatory Task Force comprised of representatives from a majority of Lake County municipalities and various community organizations. The Task Force developed regulatory options for local governments to consider, including model bans on commercial cannabis businesses and model regulations permitting them with certain restrictions.
The Lake County PBD staff presented the Task Force’s findings and models to the Lake County Board at the Committee of the Whole on Friday, Nov. 8. This was only a discussion on this item, and no formal action was taken at the meeting. A decision by the Board will be made at a later date. Watch the discussion from the meeting.
The Lake County Planning, Building & Development Department is currently leading a Recreational Cannabis Regulatory Task Force with participation from a majority of Lake County municipalities and community organizations. The goal of this Task Force is to jointly develop regulatory options (from jurisdictional bans to allowing subject to restrictions) to address commercial cannabis in our respective jurisdictions. At the Task Force’s first meeting, the group discussed a number of topics, including health, law enforcement, revenue implications and the new law’s parameters for local government regulation.
As the task force meetings conclude, Lake County will continue its study of the issue, develop its own regulatory strategy (taking into account the Task Force’s model options) and encourage residents to provide input. Updates will be provided as the Task Force continues to meet and when the public meetings are scheduled.
Local governments across the state are now evaluating how they will ultimately regulate and/or restrict recreational cannabis businesses through zoning (to the extent permitted by law) in terms of location, operations, parking, security, distances to sensitive land uses, and other considerations.
To facilitate a regional “shared services” approach to tackling these complex issues, the Lake County Planning, Building & Development Department is leading a Model Zoning Ordinance Task Force with area municipalities and other community stakeholders to jointly develop regulatory strategies addressing commercial recreational cannabis in our respective jurisdictions. Updates will be provided as the Task Force convenes this summer.