DuPage County Bans Recreational Marijuana Sales

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In a close 10-8 vote, the DuPage County Board voted to prohibit the establishment of recreational marijuana businesses in unincorporated areas of DuPage.

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The decision came after many public commenters spoke up against cannabis sales – a stance a number of board members’ shared.

“For us to go ahead and permit this, and tax it, and to profit from it, is in derogation of federal law. We’d be profiting and authorizing an enterprise that is illegal federally,” said board member Tim Elliot.

“The state of Illinois has made a lot of bad choices over the years. And we here in DuPage County have made better choices,” said board member Robert Larsen. “So we can’t control the fact that they have chosen to legalize this drug everywhere in the state of Illinois. But we can send a message to our constituents saying we don’t want more sales of this in our county.”

Three Sites Available

Last month the board learned there were only three sites where recreational dispensaries could be placed in unincorporated DuPage, once the sale of it becomes legal statewide on January 1.

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Safer access to the drug was just one of the reasons others on the board supported opting in.

“By allowing this in our county and making that available for those who choose, we are offering them a safe product they that know they’re not going to get some foreign substance that’s been added,” said board member Sheila Rutledge.

“As for all the concerns with children and those sorts of issues, it’s the same as alcohol and tobacco in our country, both of which, in my family, have killed people. Marijuana never has,” added board member Ashley Selmon.

Could Return

While the board ultimately voted to ban the sale of recreational pot, some noted the issue could return in the future.

“Maybe in a year or two I think we’re there,” said board member Julie Renehan. “I think this is going to be the law of the land. The train has left the station. But I just think we need better steps and regulation of how we’re going to handle this.”

Sales Tax Approval

The board also voted 12-6 to approve a 3% county sales tax on the sale of marijuana in DuPage County municipalities.

Naperville News 17’s Christine Lena reports.