Years of deliberations will come to a head Tuesday when Wilmette trustees will likely offer direction on whether to allow recreational cannabis sales in the village.
The Village Board is slated to continue discussions on the matter at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 27, during its regular meeting. The meeting will be held in-person at Wilmette Village Hall, 1200 Wilmette Ave. and will also be livestreamed on the village’s YouTube channel.
Village officials started their review of adult-use cannabis sales within town limits in the summer of 2019. At that time, trustees prohibited the in-village sale of recreational cannabis prior to the legalization of such sales by the State of Illinois in January 2020.
In the summer of 2020, officials reignited the discussions and ultimately set up an advisory ballot question to collect the community’s opinion on the issue.
The nonbinding advisory referendum, which appeared on local voters’ November ballot, garnered strong support from Wilmette residents with just over 56 percent of residents voting in favor of allowing the sale of cannabis in the village.
Officials have continued to review cannabis sales since the advisory referendum.
Earlier this year, Wilmette trustees held a special meeting where they OK’d the land use committee to investigate zoning and other logistics for a potential cannabis dispensary in the village, as previously reported by The Record.
Board members showcased support at that meeting for Edens Plaza as the “logical” home for a potential cannabis dispensary.
The land use committee conducted two public meetings — one of which included a public hearing — to further vet locations for a potential dispensary. The committee recommended Edens Plaza as the only zoning district in Wilmette that fits officials’ preferred criteria.
During the July 27 meeting, trustees will discuss whether Edens Plaza “is an appropriate location for a cannabis dispensary,” according to a press release from the village.
There is currently no pending application to open a cannabis dispensary in Wilmette, officials say.
If trustees opt to allow cannabis sales in Wilmette, the process will likely utilize the village’s special-use zoning process, which would require a public notice mailed to any property that is within 250 feet of Edens Plaza, according to the village.
That process would also require a public hearing from the zoning board of appeals and ultimate review and approval from the village board.
Regardless of the board’s decision, a cannabis dispensary will not open in Wilmette in 2021.
As previously reported by The Record, Wilmette’s Village Board approved a consent-agenda ordinance during its June 22 meeting that extends the village’s moratorium on recreational cannabis sales through the end of 2021.
An agenda for the board’s July 27 meeting has not yet been posted as of publication time.
Officials did note that no final action is scheduled to take place at the meeting.
Residents who would like to provide additional feedback to the Village Board can do so by emailing their comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or by attending the meeting.
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Martin Carlino is a co-founder and the senior editor who assigns and edits The Record stories, while also bylining articles every week. Martin is an experienced and award-winning education reporter who was the editor of The Northbrook Tower.