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Information about Recreational Cannabis in St. Charles

Illinois Law Goes into Effect Jan. 1, 2020

The possession and private consumption of cannabis by people 21 or older for recreational use will be legal in Illinois beginning Jan. 1, 2020. However, municipalities may choose whether or not to allow retail cannabis stores in their communities.

General information about the new law has been summarized in a fact sheet produced from the Illinois Municipal League, an association of cities throughout Illinois. Read it here.

Currently there is one medical cannabis dispensary that has been operating in St. Charles since 2016.

Recreational Cannabis Sales in St. Charles

The St. Charles City Council has approved recreational cannabis sales in St. Charles with these stipulations:

  1. A maximum of two recreational dispensaries may operate in St. Charles.
  2. Recreational dispensaries will only be allowed in the community business zoning districts and regional business zoning districts. Generally, these zoning districts include Main Street/IL Rte. 64 outside the downtown, and also IL Rte. 38 and Randall Road on the west side.
  3. Only one recreational dispensary may operate on the East Side of St. Charles.
  4. Only one recreational dispensary may operate on the West Side of St. Charles.
  5. Cannabis retailers must be located at least 250 feet away from the property line of any school, day care, church or single-family residence.
  6. No public consumption of cannabis is allowed.
  7. On-site consumption lounges are prohibited.
  8. Cultivation centers are prohibited.
  9. Any other cannabis-related businesses are prohibited.
  10. One of the retail cannabis dispensary must have at least one year of consecutive experience operating a medical cannabis dispensary in St. Charles; the other dispensary must have one year of consecutive experience in the State of Illinois.

What happens if a recreational cannabis dispensary chooses to operate in St. Charles?

The City Council has enacted a local sales tax of 3% on retail cannabis sales. This is in addition to the general merchandise sales tax.

Recreational cannabis dispensaries must meet the following requirements before they will be allowed to operate in St. Charles:

  1. Hold a valid recreational cannabis dispensary license issued from the State of Illinois.
  2. Complete the City of St. Charles Special Use Zoning process:
    • Submit a Special Use Zoning Application that meets the City of St. Charles ordinance requirements.
    • The special use request will be the subject of a Public Hearing and notice will be given to surrounding property owners.
    • Receive recommendation from the Plan Commission.
    • Receive approval from the Planning and Development Committee (Committee of the Whole).
    • Receive approval from the City Council.

What happens if no recreational cannabis dispensary opens in St. Charles?

Recreational cannabis use will be allowed in St. Charles because it is legal throughout the state. It will be legal for citizens to buy cannabis in other cities that have recreational cannabis dispensaries and privately consume cannabis in St. Charles.

The existing medical cannabis dispensary may continue to operate in St. Charles.

Public Meetings which have addressed recreational cannabis in St. Charles

The issue has been discussed and public comments considered at:

  • Aug. 5, 2019 Government Operations Committee Meeting
  • Aug. 19, 2019 Government Operations Committee Meeting
  • Sept. 3, 2019 Government Operations Committee Meeting
  • Sept. 16, 2019 City Council Meeting
  • Sept. 17, 2019 Public Hearing at the Plan Commission Meeting
  • Oct. 8, 2019 Continued Public Hearing at the Plan Commission Meeting
  • Oct. 14, 2019 Planning and Development Committee Meeting
  • Oct. 21, 2019 City Council Meeting

Actions Taken

  • Aug. 19, 2019 Government Operations Committee Meeting aldermen voted 6-3 to direct City staff to begin the process of amending the City’s zoning ordinance to allow two recreational cannabis sales facilities, one on the east side of St. Charles and one on the west side.
  • Sept. 3, 2019 Government Operations Committee Meeting aldermen voted 5-3 to recommend a 3% sales tax on future cannabis retail sales if the City zoning is approved.
  • Sept. 16, 2019 City Council Meeting alderman voted 6-4 to adopt an ordinance for a 3% sales tax on future cannabis recreational retail sales if the City zoning is approved.
  • Oct. 8 Plan Commission Meeting members provided a favorable recommendation for a General Amendment to Title 17 of the St. Charles Municipal Code (Zoning) pertaining to recreational cannabis uses. 
  • Oct. 14, 2019 Planning and Development Committee aldermen voted  6-3 to recommend approval of a General Amendment to Title 17 of the St. Charles Municipal Code (Zoning Ordinance) pertaining to recreational cannabis uses
  • Oct. 21, 2019 City Council Meeting aldermen voted 6-3 to approve an ordinance allowing recreational cannabis sales in St. Charles. This includes two retail locations; one on the east side of St. Charles and one on the west side.
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updated Nov 15, 2019