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The Flossmoor Village Board approved an ordinance Monday that would allow a recreational cannabis dispensary to operate within certain boundaries in the village, along with a 3-percent sales tax on cannabs sold there.
Beginning Jan. 1, Illinois joins a growing number of states to legalize recreational cannabis, but municipal governments are able to regulate cannabis businesses or opt out of having them all together.
The Flossmoor board voted in favor of allowing up to one dispensary at a time via special-use permit in two possible business districts (zoned B-3 or B-6), plus other restrictions. 
Permissible locations for a dispensary will include retail spaces along Vollmer Road in the former TIF district in southwest Flossmoor or the Flossmoor Commons/ south triangle area.
Mayor Paul Braun said any potential developer will have to go through the Flossmoor Plan Commission and Village Board to obtain a special-use permit, which gives Flossmoor an appropriate level of control. A developer would also have to gain state licensure to operate a dispensary.
“It’s very limited in terms of where it would go,” Braun said. “It’s not going to be in the downtown area. It’s not going to be near any schools. It’s not going to be close to any major residential areas.”
Restrictions include that the dispensary cannot be located within 1,000 feet of a school; on-site cannabis consumption is prohibited, and images of cannabis or paraphernalia cannot be displayed in windows or anywhere outside the store. 
Another distinction is that other types of cannabis businesses, such as craft growers, infusers, processors and transporters, will not be allowed in the village.
Also on Monday, the board gave the go-ahead for Flossmoor police to use local adjudication to deal with offenders. 
Police Chief Tod Kamleiter said a local court system can be a more efficient and effective means of enforcement than Cook County or juvenile courts. Penalties can include a fine of up to $750, he said.
He said police will target cannabis-related offenses such as use or possession by a minor, use around a minor, public use, illegal street sale and purchase, and illegal transportation.
“What we’re really looking at is quality-of-life issues in our communities, our neighborhoods,” he said.
The 3-percent sales tax on recreational cannabis will go into effect July 1 if and when a dispensary opens in Flossmoor. 
Village Finance Director Scott Bordui said he is unable to estimate how much revenue would result from a dispensary, especially with unknown factors like size and location.
“Nevertheless, given the village’s challenges and its general fund in particular, financially this is a good opportunity to mitigate those challenges,” Bordui said. 
Braun said he is unsure how soon a dispensary might come to fruition in Flossmoor, but the village should be ready with established regulations if and when someone shows interest.
He said the overall public opinion from his perspective has been neutral. 
“I personally have not received any overwhelming support or objection one way or another,” Braun said. “I had two people call me that were in opposition to it and two people that called me that were in favor of it.”
Building and Zoning Administrator Scott Bugner added that three residents spoke in favor of allowing recreational cannabis sales and one spoke against it during a Nov. 21 plan commission meeting and public hearing.
Despite the board’s unanimous vote to allow a dispensary, some trustees voiced concerns on the uncertainty of the future of cannabis sales in Flossmoor. The consensus was that the opportunity to earn tax revenue was too good to pass up.
Trustee Perry Hoag suggested restricting the location to Flossmoor Commons because the area could use new business; however, the board agreed that one area should not be given an unfair advantage, which could be construed as “spot zoning.”
“I had a lot of problems with this, frankly,” Hoag said. “I don’t know the future of what some development like this might or could lead to.”
Hoag also said he had difficulty drawing a distinction between the board agreeing to cannabis sales but repeatedly turning down video gambling establishments.
Trustee Brian Driscoll said he at first wanted Flossmoor to opt out because he is unsure how these businesses might affect the community decades from now.
“I’m torn, as I’m sure many of us are, because we are in desperate need for revenue,” Driscoll said. “We’re in a revenue crunch, and anything that can provide relief to the homeowners in our communities is a good thing.”
Trustee Jim Mitros said he has put his worries aside because current dispensaries seem to be nice-looking, professional establishments.
“I think it’s incumbent on us that if we have an opportunity to make some dough for this village to pay some bills, I think we’ve got to go that route,” Mitros said. “From what we’ve read, this could be a good revenue stream for our village. As much as I would like to say no, I’m in favor of it.”

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