Recreational Cannabis

On June 25, 2019, Governor Pritzker signed into law the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, making Illinois the 11th state to legalize recreational cannabis sale and use. The Act provides for the State licensure of a variety of adult-use cannabis business establishments, preserves the legalization of medical cannabis and includes a provision allowing "home grow" cannabis by medical cannabis program participants only. Recreational marijuana use by adults 21 and over will become legal on January 1, 2020.  Municipalities may not restrict the private consumption of cannabis as authorized by the Act.  The Act does however prohibit the use of cannabis in public places, schools and child care facilities among other locations. Municipalities may adopt and enforce local ordinances to regulate possession and public consumption of cannabis so long as the regulations and penalties are consistent with the Act.   

The State of Illinois is allowing municipalities to decide whether to prohibit recreational cannabis businesses from locating in their communities or to allow these type of uses subject to local zoning restrictions.  In addition to granting or restricting the authority of adult-use recreational dispensaries, municipalities have the option of authorizing on-site consumption of cannabis (i.e. - cannabis cafes / smoke lounges), as well as the co-location of craft growers, infusers and cultivation centers.

If the Village were to allow the possibility of a recreational cannabis dispensary, the Village could further regulate it by:

  • Restricting the zoning districts that such a dispensary may operate in (i.e. - only in the industrial zoning district).
  • Restricting the hours of operation.
  • Regulating the proximity to other land uses like schools, parks, houses of worship, child care facilities, etc.
  • Capping on the number of adult-use recreational dispensaries allowed in Gurnee.

Municipalities, by ordinance, may impose a Municipal Cannabis Retailers’ Occupation Tax on adult-use cannabis products of up to 3% of the purchase price, in .25% increments.  The taxes imposed under this Act shall be in addition to all other occupation, privilege or excise taxes imposed by the State of Illinois or by any unit of local government, such as sales tax.  The legalization of adult cannabis also includes a new source of Local Government Distributive Fund (LGDF) dollars. A portion of the Cannabis Regulation Fund revenues (8% of deposits) will go to local governments through LGDF based on population which can be used to fund crime prevention programs, training and interdiction efforts. The Cannabis Regulation Fund is derived from moneys collected from state taxes, license fees and other amounts required to be transferred into the Fund. Estimates indicate a single dispensary could generate around $300,000 a year for a community between local taxation and additional LGDF revenue.

Recreational Cannabis

  1. When was cannabis made legal in Illinois?
  2. On Tuesday 6/25/2019, Governor JB Pritzker signed Illinois House Bill 1438, better known as the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (CRTA), thus legalizing the consumption and possession of cannabis for adults 21 and older in Illinois.
  3. Can the consumption/possession of cannabis be banned by a local municipality like Gurnee?
  4. No, municipalities cannot ban or override the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (CRTA).
  5. Will the Village have any regulatory abilities?
  6. Yes. When it comes to restrictions, municipalities have the ability to:
        - ban the selling of recreational cannabis within Village limit
        - dictate the amount of legal dispensaries within the Village
        - determine how cannabis businesses are operated such as hours of operation
        - dictate the location of cannabis businesses as they relate to points of interest such as schools, churches, government buildings, and liquor stores.
        - regulate the zoning of cannabis businesses in specific districts        
  7. What regulatory abilities, if any, do business owners and landlords have?
  8. Any person, business, public entity, or landlord may prohibit the use of cannabis on private property.
  9. Who can legally purchase and consume cannabis?
  10. As a result of the new State legislation, the consumption of cannabis as of 1/1/2020, will be treated similarly to that of the consumption of alcohol with any Illinois resident, or non-resident, ages 21 or over, now being able to purchase and consume cannabis.
  11. Who can legally grow and sell recreational cannabis?
  12. Only licensed businesses will be able to legally grow and sell cannabis. Medical cannabis patients will be allowed to grow up to five plants each within their home.
  13. What will the Village’s role be in the licensing process?
  14. The Village plays no role in the licensing process as it is left up to the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to select and process those individuals attempting to obtain a license.
  15. How much cannabis may an individual possess?
  16. Illinois residents may possess up to:
       -30 grams, or just over one ounce of “flower”
       -5 grams of cannabis concentrate
       -500 milligrams of THC - the chemical that makes users high – in a cannabis infused product such as gummies, candy, other consumable products (referred to as “edibles”), or tinctures, and lotions

    Non-Illinois residents may legally possess up to ½ of these amounts.
  17. Will cannabis consumption be allowed in public spaces?
  18. No, the consumption of cannabis in public will be considered unlawful.
  19. Where will consumption be allowed?
  20. The consumption of cannabis will be allowed on private property or potentially, specifically designated establishments such as dispensaries or smoking lounges.
  21. Are there any changes to existing medical cannabis laws?
  22. Yes; the list of conditions that are covered under the use of medial cannabis was expanded to now include chronic pain, autism, migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, osteoarthritis, and anorexia.
  23. How is cannabis taxed?
  24. Sales will be taxed at 10% for cannabis with THC levels at or less 35%; 25% for cannabis with THC levels above 35%; and 20% for cannabis infused products such as edibles. This is in addition to standard state and local sales taxes. Additionally, municipalities may add a special tax of up to 3%.
  25. How will the potential tax revenue generated be used?
  26. Within the bill, any government proceeds associated with the sale of recreational cannabis was established as follows:
        -20% to State mental health services and substance abuse programs
        -10% to pay unpaid State bills                                                                                                   -35% to the State General Revenue Fund
        -2% to public education and safety campaigns
        -8% to the Local Government Distributive Fund, for prevention and training for law enforcement
        -25% for identified social equity programs
  27. How will the potential tax revenue from the (3%) tax be used by Gurnee?
  28. Currently, the Village has no plans in place for these potential funds. 
  29. How do federal laws affect Illinois’ law?
  30. Although cannabis remains illegal at the federal level, federal law enforcement has rarely interfered with individuals possessing the state regulated legal amount or businesses complying with state enforced programs. Any questions related to Federal or State regulations should be directed to the proper agencies.
  31. How does recreational cannabis affect criminal records?
  32. Illinois Governor JB Pritzker has stated that he will pardon past convictions for possession of up to 30 grams, with the attorney general going to court to delete public records of a conviction or arrest for the now legal amount. Regarding possession of 30-500 grams, an individual or a state’s attorney may petition the court to vacate or expunge the conviction.
  33. What are some potential impacts to the State’s decision to allow recreational marijuana use when it comes to policing?
  34. It is reasonable to assume that the legalization of cannabis will increase the demand for police services as well as the number of drug impaired drivers on our roadways, due to the state-wide allowance of marijuana, regardless of whether or not such a facility is located within the city limits of Gurnee.
  35. How can I share my thoughts or opinions on this topic as a resident or community member?
  36. Interested members of the community are welcome to attend a public meeting on Monday, August 26th at 7:00 p.m. at Gurnee Village Hall (325 N. O'Plaine Road)

    Those who are not able to attend this meetings but would like to express their opinions can email the Village at Additionally, the Village encourages interested parties to take our survey on recreational cannabis in the Village of Gurnee: