Elk Grove Village likely the first town in the state to ban sale of THC products
Elk Grove Village on Tuesday became likely the first municipality in the state to prohibit tobacco and smoke shops from selling any products containing THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
The ban, approved unanimously by the village board, will take effect in 10 days and will apply to all 30 licensed tobacco sellers in town.
The issue arose publicly during a Feb. 16 village hearing when Mayor Craig Johnson slapped a 30-day suspension on a smoke shop for selling THC and nicotine vape products to minors.
A monthslong police investigation found that as a result of the sale and resale, THC products ended up in the hands of kids as young as 11 in junior high schools. Some of the kids got sick, police said.
Johnson said the local ordinance tries to address a "loophole" in state law that allows for the sale of products like vapes and chewable gummy bears that contain delta-8 THC.
"There is a gray area in state statute when it comes to these products. It's basically not being regulated," Johnson said at Tuesday night's village board meeting. "We are going to regulate it."
The substance delta-8 THC is derived from marijuana and has "psychoactive and intoxicating effects," similar to delta-9 THC -- the "high" people experience from using marijuana, according to the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA hasn't evaluated or approved the product for safe use, but it's available for purchase in stores and online.
Johnson called on lawmakers to prohibit the sale of those products statewide, while in the meantime urging other communities to pass bans of their own.
The mayor on Tuesday stopped short of renewing his call for a full tobacco sales ban in the village -- something he's hinted at for years but isn't likely to get majority support for from village trustees.
The village's attorneys believe the ordinance they crafted does not contradict the state's recreational marijuana law, which allows for the sale of THC products only at licensed dispensaries. The ban wouldn't affect, for instance, the new state-licensed recreational marijuana dispensary coming to a strip mall at Higgins Road and Bond Street.
Village officials said the owner is working on interior renovations ahead of a planned May opening, in what would be Elk Grove's first pot shop.
Other retailers in town that sell any THC products would be subject to a $500 fine and suspension or revocation of their business license.