Arlington Heights letting recreational pot sales start in September
An Arlington Heights medical marijuana dispensary can start selling to recreational users as soon as Tuesday, Sept. 1, under an 18-month pilot program approved this week by the village board.
The approval follows months of lobbying by officials at Verilife, 1816 S. Arlington Heights Road, and parent company PharmaCann Inc. to get the board to overturn its November 2019 ban on recreational pot sales. Trustees unanimously agreed to do so last month, in light of ever-growing state revenue numbers after the Jan. 1 legalization.
Mayor Tom Hayes has been steadfast in his opposition to recreational pot sales since the topic was first discussed a year ago, and on Monday, he cast the lone vote in opposition.
Hayes argued the 18-month trial period was too long and the agreement doesn't contain a mechanism for the board to end the pilot earlier if problems arise. But most trustees said they were comfortable with the length of term and believe Verilife has been a good business since moving to town in 2018.
Under the proposed pilot program, recreational sales will be allowed at Verilife from Sept. 1 through Feb. 28, 2022. Hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
Amid parking lot capacity concerns of village officials, Verilife will be required to perform a rolling parking study throughout the course of the pilot -- effectively, one study every six months -- to gauge parking demand.
Trustees Monday night also enacted a new 3% local tax on cannabis sales that under state law can be collected starting Jan. 1. But per the pilot agreement, Verilife has agreed to pay the village 3% of gross receipts from the start of sales through the end of 2020.
Village officials estimate the sole dispensary in town could generate $500,000 annually for the village's general fund, but it could be even higher with local and home rule sales taxes.
The agreement calls for the village board to decide, by the end of 2021, whether the recreational pot business can remain in operation in town.
"We will continue to work in partnership with the village and continue to work diligently especially of course knowing that we will be back in due time before the village board in the hopes of extending our pilot program," said Brandon Nemec, government and regulatory affairs associate at PharmaCann. "We are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to continue to earn our reputation and status as a good partner and member of the business community here in the village of Arlington Heights."